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China’s global vision comes together at SCO as America’s comes apart

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14.06.2018

As US President Donald Trump continued to upset long-standing allies at the G7 summit in Quebec, Chinese President Xi Jinping was busy consolidating the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at its 18th summit in Qingdao.

The SCO – since 2017 comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India – has in the past been dismissed by Western observers as either an ineffectual “talk shop” or a prospective “axis of authoritarians”. Such characterisations are wrong and it is time for the West to start to take the challenge posed by the SCO and its core driver, China, seriously.

This task is all the more urgent as Trump’s “America first” foreign policy is translating in practice into “America alone”. According to a White House official recently quoted by Jeffery Goldberg in The Atlantic, the “Trump doctrine” is animated by the visceral assertion that “We’re America, bitch” and that “The president believes that we’re America, and people can take it or leave it.”

The defining image of the G7 summit – a visibly disinterested Trump listening to German Chancellor Angela Merkel while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron look on – provided ample illustration of this. The rhetoric also matched the optics, with the president tweeting that the US did not endorse the G7 leaders’ statement committing members to “reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies”.

Donald Trump explains what was going on in THAT iconic G7 photo with Germany’s Angela Merkel

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© South China Morning Post