WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and other world leaders will meet Saturday for the second day of the Group of Seven summit in the U.K. with a focus on countering China’s increasing global influence, according to senior White House officials.
The G-7 nations are expected to announce new global infrastructure initiatives for low- and-middle income countries, which the officials said would be called “Build Back Better for the World.” Biden will also encourage G-7 partners to take a clear stance on forced labor and human rights, according to the officials.
In a call with reporters, the Biden administration officials stressed that Saturday’s efforts would not be solely aimed at confronting China but rather “providing an affirmative, positive alternative vision for the world.” Biden has made it a priority to use his first foreign trip as president to showcase the ability of democratic institutions to respond to global challenges and he has frequently warned about the global rise of authoritarianism.
The G-7 infrastructure initiatives are likely to be seen as a direct counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious plan created by President Xi Jinping to connect China and dozens of countries across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa through a series of ports, bridges, 5G networks and other infrastructure. Experts say that the program has functioned as a way for China to exert economic influence and power around the world.
China has been accused of using tactics that amount to human trafficking and forced labor, including seizing passports and holding workers against their will, to build its BRI projects. It has also been accused of holding more than 1 million Uighurs and other minorities from its Xinjiang region in internment camps.
“This is not about making countries choose between us and China,” said an administration official on the call. “This is about offering an affirmative, alternative vision, and approach, that they would want to choose. So, what we’re promoting is a confident, positive agenda, focused around rallying other countries that share our values on the issues that matter most.”
The Group of Seven, an organization of the world’s wealthiest democracies — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. — will wrap up its three-day meeting in the U.K. on Sunday.
Biden will then head to Brussels for the NATO summit Monday before he meets Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.