The Group of Seven (G7) countries announced an important infrastructure initiative for low-income countries in response to China’s trillion-dollar “Belt and Road” initiative, known as the “New Silk Road.”

The leaders of the Group of Seven countries pledged to “jointly promote” hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment for low- and middle-income countries, and said on Saturday that they would provide a “value-driven, high-standard, and transparent” partnership.

The announcement was made when the leaders of the G7 countries-the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Japan-gathered in the seaside resort of Cabis Bay in southwest England.

Their “Rebuilding a Better World” (B3W) project is supported by the administration of US President Joe Biden (Joe Biden) and aims to compete with the “Belt and Road” initiative, which suffers from burdening small countries with unmanageable debt. Widespread criticism.

The White House said in a statement statement The initiative aims to “help reduce the infrastructure needs of more than $40 trillion in developing countries that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This is not just about confronting or accepting China,” a senior US official said. “It’s about providing an affirmative, positive alternative vision for the world.”

The leaders of the G7 countries-the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, and Japan-gather in southwest England [Jack Hill/Pool via Reuters]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it an “important move” that Africa desperately needs.

“We cannot sit back and watch China do this, but the ambition of the G7 is to set a positive agenda for some of the world’s still backward countries…I welcome this,” she said.

In a report at the summit, Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor James Beth stated that the B3W project is a project that U.S. officials have been promoting, and “obviously they have the support of other G7 leaders”.

“They say this [B3W] will Comply with international environmental protection And labor standards are different from the “One Belt One Road” initiative,” Beth said, but he pointed out that although this is an ambitious idea, it “comes too late.”

“The Belt and Road Initiative has been around for eight years; it is very developed and it is in practice. Although it is just a dream now,” he said.

Beth added that financing for the B3W project is still a big question mark because “US officials informed reporters that they estimate that there will be a $14 trillion infrastructure gap between now and 2035…”

Ryan Patel, a senior researcher at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, told Al Jazeera that it will take time for the G7 countries to establish the B3W project, “but I think they can provide a competitive alternative to China’s One Belt One Road initiative. Program” initiative.

Patel said that both China and the G7 countries want to diversify their trading partners, especially in the context of the economic downturn associated with the coronavirus. “What is China doing, and [what] The other G7 countries are doing this, and they are trying to become more independent,” he said.

Public statement

Although the G7 agreed to work hard to compete with China, it lacked uniformity in the confrontational nature of the public stance the group should take.

According to a senior Biden administration official who asked not to be named, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France largely support Biden’s position, while Germany, Italy and the European Union showed more during the first summit on Saturday. Hesitate.

White House officials have stated that Biden hopes that the leaders of the G7 countries will use a unified voice to oppose the forced labor practices against China’s Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

According to researchers, an estimated 1 million people—most of whom are Uyghurs—have been detained in so-called re-education camps in the Xinjiang region of western China in recent years.

Human rights groups Amnesty International in a recent report Said that Xinjiang has become a “dystopian hell.”

Chinese authorities have been accused of forced labor, systematic mandatory birth control, torture, and separation of children from their imprisoned parents. Beijing denies allegations that it is committing a crime.

Biden hopes that the condemnation will be part of a joint statement issued at the end of the summit on Sunday, but some European allies are unwilling to split with Beijing so hard.


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