The Group of Seven rich nations will announce on Saturday a new global infrastructure plan as a response to China’s belt and road initiative, a senior official in the US president Joe Biden’s administration said.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the US would also push the other G7 leaders for “concrete action on forced labour” in China, and to include criticism of Beijing in their final communique.

“This is not just about confronting or taking on China,” the official said. “But until now we haven’t offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards, and our way of doing business.”

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, involving development and investment initiatives that would stretch from Asia to Europe and beyond.

More than 100 countries have signed agreements with China to cooperate in BRI projects like railways, ports, highways, and other infrastructure.

In March, Biden said he had suggested to the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is hosting the three-day G7 leaders’ summit in south-west England, that democratic countries should develop their own rival scheme.

The US official said until now, the west had failed to offer a positive alternative to the “lack of transparency, poor environmental and labour standards, and coercive approach” of the Chinese government that had left many countries worse off.

“So tomorrow we’ll be announcing ‘build back better for the world’, an ambitious new global infrastructure initiative with our G7 partners that won’t just be an alternative to the B and I (Belt and Road),” the official said.

There were no specifics on how the global infrastructure scheme would be funded. The plan would involve raising hundreds of billions in public and private money to help close a $40tn infrastructure gap in low-income countries by 2035, the official said.

The Guardian


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