Biden aims to counter China’s global infrastructure project with new G7 initiative
The confrontation with Chinese authoritarianism, however, appeared to be a source of contention between the leaders.
The White House said the program, touted as an alternative to China’s global infrastructure initiative, “will help reduce infrastructure needs of more than $ 40 trillion in the developing world, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic “.
A senior administration official described the plan, called the “Building a Better World” initiative, as a “bold new global infrastructure initiative with our G7 partners that will be values-driven, transparent and sustainable” and will compete with the Belt and Road of China. Initiative.
The G7 will announce “a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and the way we do business,” said a second senior official.
As part of the announcement of the new infrastructure, the United States said the Group of 7 will join partners and the private sector to “collectively catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investments for countries. low- and middle-income earners who need it ”.
Officials described the global infrastructure pitch not as a showdown with China, but as an alternate path.
“It is not about making countries choose between us and China. It is about offering an affirmative and alternative vision and approach that they would like to choose,” said the chief administration official.
And in the next few days, when Biden visits the NATO summit in Brussels, NATO countries “will address China’s security challenge directly in a statement” for the first time, according to the first senior official.
A second part of Saturday’s session, officials said, is aimed at targeting forced labor practices in China.
Biden, the second official said, “will pressure his fellow leaders to take concrete action against forced labor, to convey to the world that we believe these practices are an affront to human dignity and an example. flagrant of unfair economic competition from China “.
The administration is pushing for China to be specifically named in the final G7 communiqué, although it is not clear whether this will ultimately lead to the final deal to be released on Sunday.
Throughout the G7 in Cornwall, England this week, Biden stepped up initiatives to reaffirm U.S. leadership on the world stage and take on China.
While summit officials saw infrastructure as an area of agreement at the summit, the leaders expressed serious differences over how best to approach China in a session on Saturday, according to a senior official at the summit. administration.
The disagreements, aired during a session that at one point became so sensitive that the entire internet was cut in the room, pitted European nations against the United States, Britain and Canada, who called stronger action against China for its authoritarian practices, including forced labor. practices in Western Xinjiang Province.
At one point, Biden forcefully called on other leaders to speak out against China’s undemocratic practices, officials said, stressing the need for action.
Biden stressed during his vaccine announcement that there were no conditions for accepting vaccines purchased in the United States. And the White House has said it is concerned about efforts by Russia and China to use vaccines to achieve geopolitical gains.
However, Biden’s new call for a global infrastructure program funded by developed Western countries comes as the president faces challenges to build his own infrastructure program in the United States.
This story has been updated with additional reports.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.