G-7 agrees on infrastructure plan to counter China's Belt and Road

Joe Biden Goes Global with $40 Trillion ‘Build Back Better for the World’ Infrastructure Plan

Macron's 2019 summit in Biarritz was the third G7 that Trump attended, and the third to demonstrate serious strain with other world leaders.

The Russian president also dismissed a report in Thursday's Washington Post claiming Moscow is preparing to deliver an advanced spy satellite to Iran. And Canada publicly expressed the desire to list the names of two citizens that Beijing detained in retaliation for Canada's arrest of a Huawei executive.

There will not be a joint news conference after U.S. President Joe Biden meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva next week.

Biden has been clear in two phone calls with Putin that he will not "simply elide or gloss over the differences that we have; he's going to take them on with candor and directly, and that where Russian Federation crosses lines that we consider to be unacceptable, we will impose costs on Russian Federation for doing that", the official said.

Further details would come in the G7 summit's final communique on Sunday, the White House added.

It's created to compete with China's trillion-dollar "Belt and Road Initiative", which has launched a network of projects and maritime lanes that snake around large portions of the world, primarily Asia and Africa.

CARBIS BAY, England, June 12 (Reuters) - The Group of Seven richest democracies on Saturday sought to counter China's growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that would rival President Xi Jinping's multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative.

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

China's Belt and Road Initiative has helped build roads and ports in several countries, but has been criticised for burdening those countries with debts.

The EU, for instance, previously struck an investment deal with China, although it later put the agreement on hold amid rising tensions with Beijing.

Coronavirus: 271 new cases confirmed in Ireland
However, of the almost 3.7 million doses of vaccine that have been administered, less than 346,000 are second doses. In all, there are 2,102 active cases of the novel coronavirus across B.C., the lowest number since November 17.

Later, as the leaders emerged in a pack from the bayside resort where the summit is being held, the group was smiling broadly alongside Biden as they made their way to have their traditional "family photo" taken before the first session.

By the end of the day, a second USA official said the countries had bridged some of their differences on the communiqué language without offering specifics.

"In line with its obligations under worldwide and national law, we call on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms", G-7 foreign ministers said in the joint statement, highlighting alleged abuses in Xinjiang.

"Western democracies who are in the G7 should not be reluctant at all to pursue all those actions where it's appropriate, even contesting", Canadian High Commissioner to the U.K. Ralph Goodale told reporters on Friday.

There were no specifics on how the global infrastructure scheme would be funded.

G7 leaders are on Saturday set to agree a joint declaration aimed at preventing another pandemic, as they resume wide-ranging talks at their first in-person summit in nearly two years.

He told reporters before he left that his relations with G7 leaders were "10 out of 10", and scoffed at suggestions he was more looking forward to his next engagement, with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The plan calls for spending hundreds of billions of dollars in collaboration with the private sector while adhering to climate standards and labor practices.

Such discourse "is part of US political culture where it's considered normal".

The White House said the G7 initiative would be similarly global in scope, estimating that the developing world needs more than $40 trillion in infrastructure, a gap "which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic".

The official added: "But until now, we haven't offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards, and our way of doing business".

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