G7 to develop rival scheme to China's belt and road initiative

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The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Macron, who like numerous leaders in the Group of 7 had a contentious relationship with former President Trump, said before the meeting, "It's great to have a USA president who's part of the club and willing to cooperate".

The announcement comes as two senior United States administration officials tell AP that Washington plans to push democratic allies to publicly call out China for forced labour practices as the G7 leaders met to discuss the infrastructure plan.

Biden hopes the denunciation will be part of the joint communique released at the summit's end, but some European allies have been reluctant to so forcefully split with Beijing. A proposal called "Build Back Better for the World" suggests investing hundreds of billions of dollars in what the White House calls a "values-driven, high standard, and transparent" partnership, the Washington Post reports.

The plan calls for spending hundreds of millions of dollars in collaboration with the private sector.

Biden and this year's G-7 Summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are anxious to announce an infrastructure financing mechanism for low- and middle-income countries, created to rival China's Belt and Road Initiative-the global infrastructure development investment strategy in dozens of countries that is central to Beijing's foreign policy.

Britain also wants the world's democracies to become less reliant on the Asian economic giant. China also is expected to be on the agenda at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting, USA officials said.

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. But there are some signs that Europe is willing to impose greater scrutiny.

Weeks before Biden took office a year ago, the European Commission announced it had come to terms with Beijing on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, a deal meant to provide Europe and China greater access to each other's markets.

After four hard years of relations with the Trump administration, their responsiveness to Biden's agenda also shows a desire for him to succeed.

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. The Communist Party has denied the allegations.

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"This is not just about confronting or taking on China", the official said.

Biden made "forceful comments" to G7 leaders about the need to make a strong statement on Washington and rights group say is the use of forced labour in China, but there was a "spectrum of how far different countries are willing to go" in their criticism in a final communique from the three-day summit, another US official said.

An estimated 1 million people or more - a lot of them Uyghurs - have been confined in reeducation camps in China's western Xinjiang region in recent years, according to researchers.

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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the 47th G7 Summit virtually on Saturday.

"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.

Johnson said the goal of the measures was "to make sure that never again will we be caught unawares".

After the G-7 ends Sunday, Biden will leave for Belgium and then Switzerland where he'll meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At their first summit, Trump infamously appeared to accept Putin's denials of election interference. Only Biden will address the news media after the meeting.

Putin told NBC that US-Russian relations had reached their lowest point in recent years, and while he didn't say it was because of Biden, a Democrat, succeeding Republican Donald Trump as president, he did contrast the two American leaders.

"That's a different kind of person, and it is my great hope that yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements, on behalf of the sitting U.S. president", he added.

Lemire reported from Plymouth, England.

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