G7 rivals China with grand infrastructure plan

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions about the 2016 U.S Election collusion during a joint press conference after their summit

Mr Trump and Mr Putin met at a summit in Helsinki in 2018 Credit Chris Mc Grath /Getty Images

China also loomed large over the meeting on the craggy coast of Cornwall.

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

Unlike the Belt and Road Initiative, which has been criticized for its opaque bidding processes and reliance on low-interest loans that have put borrowing nations at the mercy of Chinese banks and contractors, the US -led initiative would aim to be "values-driven, transparent and sustainable", the administration official said. But at the same time, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, specifically, have reportedly suggested they're anxious about Biden's camp taking things to the point that they could lose any cooperation from China. 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.

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

"We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward, and a solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting - both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns", the official told reporters traveling with Biden at the G-7.

Not every European power has viewed China in as harsh a light as Biden, who has painted the rivalry with the techno-security state as the defining competition for the 21st century.

Biden at the 2021 G7 Summit
The agenda includes talks on climate change, the global response to COVID-19 and the taxation of multinational corporations. It is taking place at Tregenna Castle in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.


In a rare interview with USA media, Putin voiced hope on Friday that Biden will be less impulsive than Trump, who faced criticism for being too soft on the Russian leader.

But the deal has been put on hold, and the European Union in March announced sanctions targeting four Chinese officials involved with human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Human-rights groups and the USA 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.

Beijing has been accused of imposing forced labor on an estimated 1 million Uyghurs and other minorities, as well as torture, forced birth control and family separations.

The G-7 leaders also hope three days of meetings at a seaside resort in southwestern England will help energize the global economy and sharpen a focus on combating climate change. A crowd of surfers, kayakers and swimmers gathered on a beach in Falmouth for a mass "paddle out protest" organized by Surfers Against Sewage, a group campaigning for more ocean protections.

"And I think what's gone wrong with this pandemic, and what risks being a lasting scar, is that I think the inequalities may be entrenched", Johnson added.

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In an interview with NBC News, Putin described Biden as a "career man" who has spent his life in politics.

"Under this agreement, the world's leading democracies will commit to preventing a global pandemic from ever happening again, ensuring the devastation caused by COVID-19 is never repeated".

He added that while Trump was a "talented" and "colorful" person, Biden was a "career man" in politics, which has "some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements" by the US president.

Biden plans to raise a range of United States complaints, including over purported Russian election interference and hacking, in the summit with Putin on Wednesday in Geneva at the end of the new president's first foreign trip.

Lemire reported from Plymouth, England.

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