G-7 agrees on infrastructure plan to counter China's Belt and Road

G-7 agrees on infrastructure plan to counter China's Belt and Road

G-7 agrees on infrastructure plan to counter China's Belt and Road

G7 leaders have adopted a rival plan to oppose China's Belt and Road Initiative by helping build infrastructure in poorer nations in a "values-driven, high-standard and transparent" partnership. Biden's proposed critique of China's labour practices was to be raised as the allies unveil an infrastructure proposal dubbed "Build Back Better for the World", a name that echoes the slogan of the American president's election campaign.

While calling out China in the G-7 communique would not create any immediate penalties for Beijing, one senior administration official said the action would send a message that the leaders were serious about defending human rights and working together to eradicate the use of forced labor. The plan would involve raising hundreds of billions in public and private money to help close a $40 trillion infrastructure gap in needy countries by 2035, the official said.

A White House official on Saturday said a solo press conference is the appropriate format.

Putin's bravura performance at a 2018 news conference with Donald Trump led to shock when the then US president cast doubt on the findings of his own intelligence agencies and flattered the Russian leader.

"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 USA president", Putin told NBC News.

"We're pushing on being specific on areas like Xinjiang where forced labour is taking place and where we have to express our values as a G7", the official said of the final communique to be issued at the end of the summit tomorrow.

"With the European Union, we have helped with a number of their discussions on various issues such as the economic behavior, market distortion measures and also the economic assistance of China which are not compatible with global regulations", Tomoyuki Koshida, the ministry of foreign affairs press secretary, told reporters. Chinese authorities have been accused of imposing forced labor, systematic forced birth control, torture and separating children from incarcerated parents.

"In line with its obligations under worldwide and national law, we call on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms", G-7 foreign ministers said in the joint statement, highlighting alleged abuses in Xinjiang.

Beijing rejects allegations that it is committing crimes.

G-7 agrees on infrastructure plan to counter China's Belt and Road
G-7 agrees on infrastructure plan to counter China's Belt and Road

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

The officials said Biden wanted G7 leaders to speak out in a single voice against forced labour practices targeting Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Johnson said the goal of the measures was "to make sure that never again will we be caught unawares".

The group of leading economies - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - will be largely consumed by the global health crisis at their gathering at a beachside venue in Cornwall, southwest England.

Putin and Biden are due to have their first in-person summit on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland, to "discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship", as the White House put it last month.

Talking about the summit alone will also spare Biden, 78, from open jousting with Putin, 68, before the world's media after what is certain to be a combative encounter.

"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 USA president", he said, according to a translation by NBC News.

Though he described relations with the United States as having "deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years", Putin said he expects he can work with Biden.

Lemire reported from Plymouth, England.

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