G7 hammers China over Russia ties, 'harmful' trade

G7 leaders meeting in Italy Friday hardened their tone against China, warning Beijing to stop sending weapons components to Russia and play by the rules on trade.

China was a key focus of the Group of Seven talks in Puglia, amid souring trade relations between Beijing and the West and concerns that its supplies of equipment to Moscow are fuelling Russia's war in Ukraine.

"We call on China to cease the transfer of dual-use materials, including weapons components and equipment, that are inputs for Russia's defense sector," the leaders said in an end-of-summit statement.

The Group of Seven also took aim at what it called "dangerous" incursions by China in the contested South China Sea, where worries of a military escalation between Beijing and its neighbours are rising.

"We oppose China's militarisation, and coercive and intimidation activities in the South China Sea," read the statement, using stronger language than at last year's summit in Japan.

After a first day dominated by Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Britain and host country Italy turned their focus to the world's second-largest economy, a superpower with a huge influence on geopolitics and global trade.

"G7 countries are on the same page vis-a-vis China," a Japanese government source told AFP.

  'Harmful' overcapacity 

Thursday's talks, attended by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, were marked by a strong show of G7 support for Kiev, with an agreement to use profits from frozen Russian assets to provide a new $50-billion loan to Ukraine.

With the war in its third year, the G7 said the deal sent an "unmistakeable signal" to Russian President Vladimir...

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