(Bloomberg) -- The Group of Seven wealthy nations have invited officials from some poorer ones to join this week’s gathering of finance ministers and central bank chiefs in a rare move to woo the so-called Global South and counter China’s growing influence.
Japan, host of this year’s G-7 meetings, invited emerging economies such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, as well as Asian peers like South Korea and Singapore, to join the finance track of the G-7 meeting starting in Niigata on Thursday.
While it’s not unusual for non-member countries to attend G-7 leaders’ summits, this is the first time since 2009 that’s been extended to financial chiefs.
The G-7 traces its roots back to 1975 and today comprises the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan. In contrast with the broader Group of 20 —which has struggled to agree on statements since Russia invaded Ukraine last year — the G-7 has been united in its criticism of that aggression.
As economic tensions between Washington and Beijing grow, the US-led grouping have also outlined plans to enhance “supply chain resilience” — which is code for reducing dependence on China in a variety of areas including critical minerals and blocking the export of some chipmaking equipment. Boosting links with the Global South is seen as a way to broaden such efforts.
“With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s actions in many ways forcefully changing the status quo, the alliance or alignment among the G-7 is much stronger than before,” said Saori Katada, professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California. Still, she doubts whether the “odd man out” tactics will do much to counter China’s influence.
“China is doing a lot to enhance its own coalition, bilaterally and multilaterally,” she said. “It’s definitely countering the tendency of the G-7 being kind of the rich capitalist Democratic nations.”
Beijing has recently played host to leaders from Brazil and Southeast Asia as it courts the Global South. It also helped broker a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Japan’s Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki last month described the outreach as “a unique initiative under the Japanese chairmanship.” A meeting with the non-G-7 officials is scheduled for Friday.
The last time non-G-7 countries were invited to finance ministers meeting was 2009, when Italy invited Russia, Masato Kanda, Japan’s vice finance minister for international affairs, said Tuesday.
For Japan, the three guests of particular interest are South Korea, India, and Indonesia.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida this week finished a landmark visit to Seoul with pledges to seek cooperation on high-tech goods and commitments on a renewed reliance between the two countries who are key to US security policies.
Japan is also deepening its ties with India, this year’s G-20 chair and Indonesia — both major recipients of Japanese foreign direct investment.
--With assistance from Emi Urabe.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.