The leaders of the G7 – forum of rich nations – approved Saturday a global plan for investment in infrastructure, to counter the Chinese project of the New Silk Road (BRI, its acronym in English). The United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union want to contain the growing economic and political influence of China, which has already signed agreements with more than 100 countries to build railways, ports , highways and communication networks since the launch of the BRI in 2013 by President Xi Jinping.
The G7 project, which was called Build Back Better, has not been officially announced. According to negotiators attending the forum, the idea is to coordinate the public and private investments of the democratic powers to reduce infrastructure shortages in low-income countries, an effort estimated at 40 trillion US dollars (205 trib BRL) over the next 15 years. . The biggest beneficiaries would be African countries, an area of strong European geopolitical interest, the poorest countries in Latin America, in the American sphere, and Southeast Asia, where disputes between China and all members of the G7.
As part of the objective of increasing their presence in the Indo-Pacific, the seven countries invited three major powers in the region to this meeting: India, Australia and South Korea. , Alluding to an alleged Chinese ploy to tie countries to billions of debt in the BIS agreements. The G7 investment program would include triggers to avoid over-indebtedness, as well as anti-corruption and environmental protection measures.
While presenting alternatives to China is a priority for all nations in the group, leaders were still trying to reconcile the differences in ratings at UK meetings this weekend. US President Joe Biden wants the final communiqué from the meeting between the leaders to condemn China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority, including forced labor, in addition to the already acknowledged lack of transparency on state subsidies.
Japan, for its part, wants the G7 to speak out clearly in favor of the autonomy of Taiwan, which the Chinese government regards as its territory. The G7 foreign ministers’ statement called for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization, but it is uncertain whether the heads of government document does the same.
European countries, for their part, are trying to maintain what they call “strategic autonomy” between the two powers, a position that has been strengthened after the administration of Donald Trump, which intensified trade disputes with the two powers. allies and threatened to withdraw from the NATO military alliance.
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the EU to strengthen its own defense, and current leaders of the bloc argue that it is possible to treat China as a partner, even though it is recognized that it is also an economic competitor. and a political rival.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wants to avoid making a very harsh statement against the Chinese regime in a year that hosts the COP 26 climate meeting – for Europeans keeping China at the negotiating table is essential for making progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Germany is also the main buyer of vehicles produced by its companies in the Chinese market, a sector of great weight in the country’s economy, and BRI includes a major project across Europe: a rail network that would link its factories UK. Italy even signed an agreement with the New Silk Road in 2019. Growing concern over Chinese spying on data networks has caused the country to back down.
In his arguments for a tougher G7 stance, Biden is precisely Europe’s greatest concern about the dependence of its supply chains on Chinese supply, which was evident during the pandemic, not only in the pharmaceutical industry but also in the automotive industry. and sectors that depend on electronic equipment, such as semiconductors.
The Europeans recently suspended an investment agreement signed with China and have already expressed their support to the US authorities for further investigations into the origin of Sars-Cov-2, after a growing number of scientists approved the possibility that he may have been responsible for a Chinese Laboratory in Wuhan, which would study the coronavirus.
According to British media reports, after the start of the G7, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to ask for more access to locations and data in the region where the agent The pathogen was first detected in late 2019. China responded by calling the “leak” theory absurd and stating that “multilateralism must be genuine and not be based on the interests of small circles”.