G7 to counter China’s clout with big infrastructure project

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Before then, however, Biden is meeting with the Group of Seven (G7) nations - from which Russian Federation has been excluded since 2014 - as well as with other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance.

"The point is to send a wake-up call that the G7 is serious about defending human rights and that we need to work together to eradicate forced labor from our products", the official said.

The G7 is meeting face to face for the first time since 2019, at a beachside venue in Cornwall, southwest England, after the coronavirus led to the cancellation of last year's summit.

The G7 leaders are also expected to outline more help for developing nations to build up infrastructure, as a counterpoint to the debt-fuelled spending by China in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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

Human-rights groups and the US and United Kingdom governments have alleged that Chinese authorities are committing genocide against ethnic Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group, and using forced labor in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.

The EU, for instance, previously struck an investment deal with China, although it later put the agreement on hold amid rising tensions with Beijing. The other leaders in the photo included: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

The leaders opened the three-day summit Friday with expectations of a pledge to donate one billion vaccine doses to poor countries this year and next - much too slow to end the crisis now, campaigners said.

But while they agreed to work toward competing against China, there was less unity on how adversarial a public position the group should take.

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Another human rights issue in play is whether to name specific Beijing detainees in the communiqué.

"I'll tell you (about it) after I've delivered it", Biden told reporters Friday.

The theme of the G7 Summit this year is "Build Back Better".

The initiative aims to form "catalytic investment" from development finance institutions of the G-7, which will then mobilize private-sector funding.

"While we are still finalizing the format for the meeting with President Putin and his delegation, we can confirm a few details, including the plan for both a working session and a smaller session, as well as a solo press conference by President Biden following the meeting", a White House official told reporters in a statement on Saturday. It would be funded in part with existing USA contributions to overseas infrastructure financing through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Biden has said that the United States is not seeking a conflict with Russian Federation, but that Washington will respond in a robust way if Moscow engages in harmful activities. "But until now we haven't offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business".

The White House declined to specify how much money the USA would contribute, saying it was still negotiating with other countries.

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

The group of leading economies - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - will also try to showcase Western democratic cohesion against a resurgent China and recalcitrant Russian Federation. "It is our hope that Europe and Japan and other like-minded countries deepen such discussions in the future".

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