G7 to counter China’s clout with big infrastructure project

Marco Green
June 12, 2021

In May, ahead of this week's meeting, the G-7 foreign leaders crafted a statement which called out China by name.

Per The Guardian, the Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom released a statement Saturday directed at the G7 that said "the days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone".

Weeks before Biden took office past year, the European Commission announced it had come to terms with Beijing on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, a deal meant to provide Europe and China greater access to each other's markets.

CARBIS BAY, England, June 12 (Reuters) - The Group of Seven richest democracies on Saturday sought to counter China's growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that would rival President Xi Jinping's multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative. But at the same time, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, specifically, have reportedly suggested they're anxious about Biden's camp taking things to the point that they could lose any cooperation from China.

Speaking about their meeting earlier this week, Biden said the US wants a "stable and predictable relationship" with Russia, but "will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities".

Of all the G-7 allies, Macron had been the most outspoken about wanting to establish more independence from Washington.

Not every European power has viewed China in as harsh a light as Biden, who has painted the rivalry with the techno-security state as the defining competition for the 21st century.

Putin told NBC that US-Russian relations had reached their lowest point in recent years, and while he didn't say it was because of Biden, a Democrat, succeeding Republican Donald Trump as president, he did contrast the two American leaders.

"We've seen the Chinese government demonstrate a lack of transparency, poor environmental and labor standards, and a course of approach that's left many countries worse off", a senior official said.

China denies all accusations of abuse in the Xinjiang region.

Beijing has been accused of imposing forced labor on an estimated 1 million Uyghurs and other minorities, as well as torture, forced birth control and family separations. 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.

Opening three days of talks in southwest England, Johnson on Friday warned that world leaders must not repeat errors made over the past 18 months - or those made during the recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis.

"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.

Brexit was casting a shadow over Johnson's meetings with European leaders, including Merkel and Macron, amid tensions over Britain's implementation of U.K. -EU divorce terms.

Biden plans to raise a range of U.S. complaints, including over purported Russian election interference and hacking, in the summit with Putin on Wednesday in Geneva at the end of the new president's first foreign trip. The White House announced Saturday that they will not hold a joint news conference afterward, which removes the opportunity for comparisons to the availability that followed Trump and Putin's 2018 Helsinki summit, in which Trump sided with Moscow over his own intelligence agencies.

"It is my great hope that, yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting U.S. president", he said, according to a translation by NBC News.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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