The G7 and NATO Summits: Key Takeaways and What to Watch Next

While Group of Seven and NATO leaders who met this week in Germany and Spain focused primarily on the threats emanating from Russia and the geopolitical and economic fallout from its war in Ukraine, China received significantly more attention at these two summits than it has in the past. This is not only a reflection of the deepening competition between the US and China, but also of the growing strains in the relationship between European capitals and Beijing after a year in which China launched a campaign of economic coercion against EU member state Lithuania for embracing closer ties with Taiwan and voiced support for the Russian narrative that NATO expansion is to blame for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of its western neighbor.

In a reflection of Beijing’s concern about deteriorating ties with Europe, it sent three envoys on a tour of more than 20 European countries in recent months. We understand that the focus of these trips was to revive the stalled 16+1 format with central and eastern European countries and to assuage Europe’s concerns about China’s support for Russia. But these trips appear to have done little to improve relations, with none of the envoys offering anything concrete. The language of the G7 communique and Strategic Concept published by NATO leaders this week underscores the damage that has been done by the economic and political tensions of the past year.

Posted July 22, 2022
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