G7 to counter China’s clout with big infrastructure project

THE VILLA La Grange at the Eaux-Vives in Geneva.—AP

THE VILLA La Grange at the Eaux-Vives in Geneva.—AP

Biden told troops in England earlier in the week that he would head to the G7, then the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ministerial before meeting with Putin "to let him know what I want him to know". And European leaders on the whole have been somewhat reluctant to fully align themselves with America's increasingly confrontational posture toward China. And Canada publicly expressed the desire to list the names of two citizens that Beijing detained in retaliation for Canada's arrest of a Huawei executive.

The "Carbis Bay Declaration" - named after the seaside town in Cornwall, southwest England, where US President Joe Biden and other leaders are meeting this weekend - comprises a series of health policy commitments.

A U.S. official speaking after a morning session said that the assembled leaders shared President Joe Biden's concern about the human rights and economic impact of the practice but differed around how to respond.

Modi will participate in another session of the G7 Summit on Sunday, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has advocated the BRI since 2013 to increase Beijing's influence overseas by financing and building infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa. The Belt and Road Initiative is a mammoth infrastructure project, with the most ambitious being the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking China's Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea.

The EU, for instance, previously struck an investment deal with China, although it later put the agreement on hold amid rising tensions with Beijing.

Biden plans to raise a range of United States 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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was coy on Saturday when addressing China, saying the European Union needs "everyone in the world" in order to "work together, especially in the areas of climate protection and biodiversity".

Biden on Wednesday said the U.S.is not seeking conflict with Russia, BUT...

There were no specifics on how the global infrastructure scheme would be funded.

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.

The G7 countries have criticized Beijing for driving countries into debt with its Belt and Road loan offers, depriving them of much of the benefit of any new infrastructure or economic investment. One said it will catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars-from G-7 countries and the private sector-for low- and middle-income countries.

Such discourse "is part of USA political culture where it's considered normal".

"We think it's critical to call out the use of forced labor", the official said, "and to take concrete actions to ensure the global supply chains are free from forced labor".

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.

While all sides are hammering out a final text, the other major player - Japan - made a veiled call on Europe to do more economically.

"And at every point along the way, we're going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future; that we're committed to leading with strength, defending our values, and delivering for our people", he said.

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