(Reuters) - The United States and other rich democracies said on Saturday that countries attempting to use trade as a weapon would face "consequences", sending a strong signal to China over practices Washington has long said amount to economic bullying.
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations, meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima for a three-day summit, also pledged to bolster supply chains with partners, particularly for chips, batteries and minerals.
The comments from the G7, in a joint statement on "economic resilience and economic security" did not specifically mention China, although they appear to be some of the clearest yet to be directed towards Beijing over the use of trade as a political tool.
The United States and its partners are increasingly worried about the outsized role China now plays in supply chains in everything from semiconductors to critical minerals.
The Hiroshima summit comes as G7 members are faced with the immense challenges posed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and tensions with China.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was due to arrive in Hiroshima on Saturday, the second day of the summit, to drum up support for his country's defence effort. His arrival in the world's first city to be attacked with an atomic bomb comes as nuclear threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin have unsettled the West.
"We will work together to ensure that attempts to weaponize economic dependencies by forcing G7 members and our partners including small economies to comply and conform will fail and face consequences," the leaders said in a statement.
China put pressure on Japan more than a decade ago by restricting rare earth export quotas after a territorial dispute. In recent years it pressed pressed multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or face exclusion from the Chinese market.
That row happened after Lithuania allowed the opening of a de facto embassy by Taiwan, which China views as part of its territory.
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