As the leaders of the world's wealthiest nations wrapped up their first in-person summit since the outbreak of the pandemic, they released a joint communique on Sunday, underscoring areas of solidarity - and the differences that remain - when it comes to tackling a host of global crises.
The first gathering of the G7 leaders in two years and with guest nations including South Korea, Australia, India, and South Africa. A success? And what did it mean for South Korea?
Let's talk about it on News In-depth tonight.
I have a group of diplomatic and political experts joining me from London, Washington and right here in our Seoul studio.
In the studio with me is Woo Jung-yeop, Director of the Center for American Studies at the Sejong Institute. Good to have you with us.
And, from London, Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London and from Michigan, Ambassador Mark Lippert, vice presidnt for international affairs at Boeing. Ambassador Lippert was the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea under President Obama.
Thank you gentlement for joining us.
(BALE) The G7 Cornwall came to a close with the overall mood positive all throughout: America's allies were visibly relieved to have the US back as an engaged international player after the last four years.
From hosting the summit to selection of guests and finally the communique, how would you rate the success of the G7 Cornwall, Professor Bale?
(LIPPERT) The meeting the G7 did put out a communique and the U.S. President had the been interested in getting strong language against China in the joint statement. The language on China in the final communique is more muted than what the U.S. has used and it was apparent not every European power views China in as harsh a light as Biden. Did Mr. Biden get what he wanted from the G7 Summit?
(WOO) What about South Korea? What was in it for South Korean President Moon Jae-in and what was South Korea able to get out from the beachside summit in southwestern England this year?
(LIPPERT) U.S. President Biden defined the fundamental struggle in the post-pandemic era as being democracies versus autocracies. The joint communique was signed only by the members of G7 with the exception of the Open Societies Statement directed at China and Russia. It was signed by the four invitees as well whom British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called "Democracies 11."
Is there a message that's being conveyed by this? Does this in anyway put South Korea in a bit of a difficult position?
** 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'.***
(BALE) The G7 leaders pledged to set up yet another working group to design an infrastructure aid program dubbed Build Back Better for the World aimed at countering China's Belt and Road Initiative.
How realistic is this initiative?
(WOO) For South Korea, China wasn't the only elephant in the room. Seoul had anticipated at least a pull aside with Tokyo as it would be the very first in-person meeting between President Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga since Suga took office. Not only did that not happen, a trilateral with President Biden in presence did not take place, either. It looked like the venue itself offered a perfect setting for a quick informal even away from the camera chats between leaders. Would that have been so difficult?
(LIPPERT) And, we're learning today that, although not a formal bilateral summit, a pull aside had been planned between President Moon and Prime Minister Suga, but the Japanese side ended up cancelling at the G7 summit, last minute. Ambassador Lippert, you're no stranger to diplomatic protocols. This can't be common practice? What does this say about Seoul, Tokyo relations?
(COMMON) Key takeaway from the 2021 G7 Cornwall Summit.
Let me start with you, Professor Bale.
And, Dr. Woo.
Professor Tim Bale, Ambassador Mark Lippert and Dr. Woo Jung-yeop, thank you all for sharing your insights with us. I appreciate it.