London [UK], December 13 (ANI): Hitting out at China's debt-trap diplomacy, the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers expressed concerns about Beijing's "coercive" economic policies.
The G-7 foreign ministers on Sunday held talks with their counterparts from the ASEAN countries for the first time, as well as from Australia, South Korea and India, on the second day of the G-7 gathering, apparently to coordinate with the 10-member ASEAN and three other regional powers over policy on China, Kyodo News reported.
The ministers also discussed "the situations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang," where Beijing has been accused of human rights abuses, and the "importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," according to a statement issued by Britain, the G-7 chair, after their two-day talks in Liverpool, England.
"We have been clear at this meeting this weekend that we are concerned about the coercive economic policies of China," Truss said at a G7 news conference in Liverpool.
"And what we want to do is build the investment reach, the economic trade reach, of like-minded, freedom-loving democracies," Truss added.
In a separate statement, the G-7 ministers and their counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who attended a part of the meeting, reaffirmed their "shared interest in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region," in a veiled counter to China's attempts to alter the regional status quo with its growing military and economic clout.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi stressed that ASEAN is key to achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, according to his ministry.
Of the ASEAN member states, military-ruled Myanmar was excluded from the gathering as the country was thrown into political turmoil following a coup in February.
China has been accused of using debt-trap diplomacy for economic and strategic gains. Several countries are bearing the brunt of Chinese aggressive economic activities.
In the dept trap diplomacy, countries offer projects/loans on terms that end up being too difficult for other countries to repay which compels them to accept political or economic concessions. (ANI)