The G7 countries have agreed on a billion-dollar infrastructure program to compete with Beijing's New Silk Road.
The final document of the summit criticizes China - at the request of the USA.
Carbis Bay / Munich - The G7 group of the largest western industrialized countries dealt intensively with China over the weekend, as requested by US President Joe Biden. For the first time, the G7 clearly criticized the People's Republic in a final communique. In dealing with the second largest economy, the G7 states want to "agree on a collective approach to contest policies and practices that are contrary to the market and undermine the fair and transparent flow of the global economy," said the paper that was adopted on Sunday afternoon. The heads of state and government also called for a “timely, transparent, scientifically based study led by experts” on the origin of the corona pandemic - which, according to current knowledge, broke out for the first time in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
On Saturday, during their discussion on China's course, the G7 had already decided to found a China task force and a billion-dollar infrastructure program to compete with China's New Silk Road.
Joe Biden: Welding G7 together against authoritarian states
After the dysfunctional phase during Donald Trump's presidency in the USA, the major western democracies now want to pull together again. US President Joe Biden wants to weld the G7 - like the democratic world as a whole - primarily through a hard demarcation from authoritarian states such as Russia and China. However, not all countries want the same degree of clear edge against China or Russia. Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, wants to avoid too harsh a confrontational course and continues to rely on dialogue with Beijing. The draft for the final declaration complies with this stance by also highlighting common interests in cooperation with China on global challenges such as climate protection and the preservation of biodiversity.
Nevertheless, it cannot be overlooked that Biden's tough China course is also gaining supporters in Europe. The G7 foreign ministers had already chosen tough words against China and Russia at their meeting in London - and, among other things, demanded access for the United Nations to the Xinjiang region, where up to a million members of the Uyghur minority are said to be interned in re-education camps. In connection with Xinjiang, China imposed sanctions on several EU parliamentarians and two dozen diplomats in response to limited EU sanctions - which significantly clouded the previously relatively stable EU-China relationship.
According to the final declaration on Sunday, the G7 countries now want to “promote our common values”.
This includes calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, "especially with regard to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and the high degree of autonomy that is laid down for Hong Kong in the joint declaration between China and Great Britain and the Basic Law".
The G7 group includes the USA, Great Britain and Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada.
G7: Plans for own infrastructure program for the world
But the G7 does not only want to criticize: On Saturday the assembled leaders decided on a billion-euro initiative to build infrastructure in poorer countries - as competition to China's New Silk Road.
The G7 initiative is entitled “Build Back Better World” - based on the slogan “Build Back Better” used by Biden in his election campaign in the USA.
The idea fits into the debate that it is more useful to make attractive offers yourself than to complain about China's infrastructure and vaccination programs.
The G7 have also decided to distribute 2.3 billion doses of vaccine to poorer countries.
This, too, is to be understood, at least indirectly, as competition with China's active vaccination diplomacy.
USA at G7 summit: Infrastructure worth 40 trillion US dollars needed worldwide
According to US estimates, around $ 40 trillion in infrastructure investments will be needed in parts of the world. The pandemic made it even bigger, US government officials reported. The US wanted to work with G7 partners, the private sector and other stakeholders to quickly mobilize hundreds of billions for infrastructure investments in low- and middle-income countries. However, no clear financial commitments have yet been made. "It is in our interest that Africa develops economically well," said Merkel on Saturday. One could “not just say that China will do that.” The G7 aspires to set a positive agenda for countries that still have some catching up to do in terms of development. "A positive, alternative vision" should be offered,for which countries could decide, quoted the news agency
on Saturday US officials. The EU is also currently working on the so-called New Connectivity Strategy, an answer to the New Silk Road, in which, among other things, digitization projects are to be funded.
With the huge project launched in 2013 to build a New Silk Road, China is opening up new trade routes along old routes through Asia to Europe and Africa and is financing infrastructure projects there. China critics fear that Beijing will be able to secure a lot of influence in the subsidized countries in this way. There are also reports of debt traps and environmental damage caused by individual projects - even if this does not apply to every individual project. Mostly Chinese companies are involved in the implementation of many projects. For example, European companies in China have so far hardly received any orders from the program. (ck / with dpa and AFP)