G7 to develop rival scheme to China's belt and road initiative

  • G7 to develop rival scheme to China's belt and road initiative

G7 to develop rival scheme to China's belt and road initiative

The official who briefed reporters was not authorized to publicly discuss the private meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Macron, who like numerous leaders in the Group of 7 had a contentious relationship with former President Trump, said before the meeting, "It's great to have a US president who's part of the club and willing to cooperate".

The officials said Biden wanted G-7 leaders to speak out in a single voice against forced labour practices targeting Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Unlike the Belt and Road Initiative, which has been criticized for its opaque bidding processes and reliance on low-interest loans that have put borrowing nations at the mercy of Chinese banks and contractors, the US -led initiative would aim to be "values-driven, transparent and sustainable", the administration official said.

Biden hopes the denunciation will be part of the joint communique released at the summit's end, but some European allies have been reluctant to so forcefully split with Beijing.

Last year's gathering was canceled because of COVID-19, and recovery from the pandemic is dominating this year's discussions, with members of the wealthy democracies' club expected to commit to sharing at least 1 billion vaccine shots with struggling countries.

G7 leaders are set to agree a declaration Saturday aimed at preventing another pandemic, and try to showcase Western democratic cohesion on China and Russian Federation, at their first in-person summit in nearly two years.

"Build Back Better for the World" calls for allies spending hundreds of millions of dollars in collaboration with the private sector.

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping involving development and investment initiatives that would stretch from Asia to Europe and beyond.

Critics say the projects often create massive debt and expose nations to undue influence by Beijing.

Britain also wants the world's democracies to become less reliant on the Asian economic giant. In late 2019, China said all people in the camps had "graduated".

Not every European power has viewed China in as harsh a light as Biden, who has painted the rivalry with China as the defining competition for the 21st century. But there are signs that Europe is willing to put greater scrutiny on Beijing.

In a rare interview with U.S. media released Friday, Putin voiced hope that Biden would be less impetuous than Donald Trump, who infamously sided with the Russian leader against the views of his own intelligence chiefs.

"We're pushing for being specific on areas like Xinjiang where forced labor is taking place", the official said, referring to the territory in northwest China where tens of thousands of Uyghurs have been forcibly transferred from their homes and assigned to factories across nine provinces in a range of supply chains including electronics, textiles and automobiles.

Biden made "forceful comments" to G7 leaders about the need to make a strong statement on Washington and rights group say is the use of forced labour in China, but there was a "spectrum of how far different countries are willing to go" in their criticism in a final communique from the three-day summit, another USA official said.

United Nations experts and rights groups estimate over a million people, mainly Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, have been detained in recent years in a vast system of camps in Xinjiang.

Beijing rejects allegations that it is committing crimes.

In May, ahead of this week's meeting, the G-7 foreign leaders crafted a statement which called out China by name. The leaders planned to attend a barbecue Saturday night, complete with toasted marshmallows, hot buttered rum and a performance by a sea shanty troupe. A crowd of surfers, kayakers and swimmers gathered on a beach in Falmouth for a mass "paddle out protest" organized by Surfers Against Sewage, a group campaigning for more ocean protections.

"And I think what's gone wrong with this pandemic, and what risks being a lasting scar, is that I think the inequalities may be entrenched", Johnson added.

After the G-7 ends Sunday, Biden will leave for Belgium and then Switzerland where he'll meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with NBC News, Putin described Biden as a "career man" who has spent his life in politics.