A much welcomed return of handshake diplomacy and an end to Zoom conferences this weekend as leaders of the world's seven wealthiest democracies joined also by four guest nations including South Korea.
From the G7's Covid plan and climate change to China dominating the G7 summit in Cornwall this year South Korea also had its own agenda heading into the summit.
As the leaders kick off their final day of the beachside summit, I have a group of diplomatic and political experts from around the world.
First, joining us from Wien is Professor Michael Reiterer of Brussels School of Governance, EU Ambassador retired. Ambassador Reiterer previously served as the Ambassador of the European Union to South Korea.
From Britain, Dr. John Nilsson-Wright, Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia with the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House.
AND Stephen Noerper, Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a seinor advisor to the United Nations program on Northeast Asia.
Dr. Noerper also served as a senior analyst for the U.S. State Department in previous administrations.
Welcome gentlemen to the show. It's great to see you all. Thanks for joining us.
So, as the leaders wrap up their final day of the three-day summit, all eyes are on what the joint communique will carry or how many times China will be mentioned in the statement.
The G7 leaders are still debating how strongly to respond to China's effort to win influence around the world and rebuke it over alleged forced labor practices. Apparently, some G7 leaders disagree with U.S. President Joe Biden's push for a collective hawkish stance against China.
How successful will President Biden be in better positioning the U.S. and its allies to compete with China in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and confronting China's authoritarianism?
Where is the UK in this?
And, the European Union I mean, it is pretty apparent that there are disagreements within the EU itself among member countries on their approach to China. I wonder how effective their China policy will be if there is France's China policy, Germany's China policy rather than an EU-wide coherent policy.
So, the G7 leaders are aiming to end their first summit in two years with a punchy set of promises including vaccinating the world against coronavirus, making huge corporations pay their fair share of taxes and tackling climate change with a blend of technology and money.
Non-G-7 nations India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa were invited to attend as guests.
What does this G7 'extras' guest list reveal about UK's foreign policy aims?
What was South Korean President Moon Jae-in able to bring to the G7 table and what kind of a role did South Korea play?
As the summit focus on ways the democracies can collaborate to build a more inclusive and fair global economy and compete with rising (quote) autocracies like China, leaders of the G7 plus the invited nations are expected to be discussing ways to respond to forced labor in supply chains, pursue an affirmative infrastructure initiative that’s high standards and transparent and coordinating on supply chain resilience and technology standards so that democracies are aligned and supporting each other.
What would be the best strategy for President Moon?
** Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a phone conversation with Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on the eve of the G7 summit, slammed Washington's Indo-Pacific strategy and quite bluntly urged Seoul not to be misled and adhere to the 'correct position'.***
China today pointedly cautioned G7 leaders that the days when "small" groups of countries decided the fate of the world was long gone, hitting back at the Group of Seven which have sought a unified position over Beijing. How relevant is the G7 in 2021? Is there a need for the informal gathering to be expanded and evolve to a D-10, perhaps?
There had been talks of a possible sitdown if not, even a pull aside between Moon, Biden and Suga OR one between Moon and Suga this time considering how initimate the setting is at this beachside sort heading to the G7 summit in Cornwall this year. Apparently not. All we've heard is that President Moon and Prime Minister Suga exchanged a short hellos. Not even a small informal chat what does this say about the trilateral and Seoul, Tokyo bilateral relations?
Do you want to add your perspective, Dr. Noerper?
And, what are your thoughts and forecast for the ties, Dr. Reiterer?
Well, with a series of multilateral and bilateral engagements this coming week with most of the leaders at Carbis Bay reconvening in Brussels for a NATO meeting Monday, Mr. Biden's first summit with his Russian counterpart in Geneva AND South Korean President Moon Jae-in's state visits to Austria and Spain we'll definitely find out more on where and how the world in the post-pandemic era is headed.
Dr. Michael Reiterer from Vienna, Dr. Stephen Noerper joining us from Hawaii and Dr. John Nilsson-Wright from London for this evening. Many thanks to all of you, gentlement, for your insights and expertise. We appreciate it.