Monday, 18 October, 2021


G7 countries endorse infrastructure plan to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Security map for Putin Biden summit in Geneva Security zone in the centre of Geneva for the Putin Biden summit on June 16. The public and vehicles are banned from the red zone that day. SITG
Kristine Garrett | 13 June, 2021, 03:53

President Biden on Saturday is expected to urge fellow G7 leaders to adopt a unified approach to countering China's rising global influence, AP reports.

China denies any ulterior motives to the vast investment project. 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.

According to the document, strategic competition with China was discussed during the session.

Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced hope Friday that U.S. President Joe Biden would be less impulsive than his predecessor, Donald Trump, ahead of his first summit with the new U.S. leader.

"This morning was to go a little bit deeper on some of the. more challenging elements within the G7 positioning on how hard to push and to call out some of the actions that China is taking", said a senior USA administration official.

Group of Seven leaders and Queen Elizabeth II (C) pose for a group photo before the leaders' evening dinner and reception on June 11, 2021 in Cornwall, England.

Xi Jinping, the president of China, launched the multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road initiative in 2013.

It's the first section that has been a struggle for diplomats seeking consensus. 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.

But an administration official acknowledged a "differentiation of opinion" among G-7 members as to how hard they are willing to push the issue, apparently taking into consideration each country's unique relationship with the world's second-largest economy.

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". The U.K. government said Saturday's discussions would tackle "how we can shape the global system to deliver for our people in support of our values", including by diversifying supply chains that now heavily depend on China. But in a statement, the official said there was "a growing convergence" among G7 countries on highlighting China's "human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang".

"Well even now, I believe that former USA president Mr. Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become US president", Putin told NBC's Keir Simmons during a wide-ranging and, at times, contentious interview.

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

More than 100 countries have signed up to the scheme, which supports investment in ports, roads, railways and other infrastructure across Asia and into Europe and Africa.

While the B3W was hinted at by both United Kingdom and USA leaders in the lead up to the G-7 summit, aside from the US, the United Kingdom and others have so far refrained from explicitly terming the move as a measure to counter China or rival the Belt and Road initiative.

G7 summits are notorious for anodyne and slightly ridiculous photo opportunities which leave world leaders struggling to seem natural in weird contexts - for example meeting another world leader on a small, overcast English beach. "It's an expression of our shared values to make clear what we won't tolerate as the United States and as a G-7, so we think it's critical to call out the use of forced labor", the official said. "And, but he didn't come from the U.S. establishment, he had not been part of big time politics before, and some like it some don't like it but that is a fact".

"We have cooperation plans with Iran, including the military and technical cooperation", Putin said.

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