Biden Says G-7 Took Action to Counter China’s Economic Might

President Joe Biden said the Group of Seven nations took a strong stand regarding China’s economic issues as well as its human rights practices.

“There’s plenty of action on China,” Biden said at a news conference Sunday in Cornwall after the conclusion of the three-day summit, his first as president. “I’m satisfied.”

Throughout the summit, the U.S. pushed to rally a united front against China on issues such as forced labor and human rights abuses, and to stand up an alternative to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure plan to counter Chinese influence abroad.

Biden said Sunday that he raised the issue of China refusing outside access to its laboratories to determine the origin of the Covid-19 outbreak. The G-7’s final communique calls for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based” study led by the World Health Organization into the disease’s origins.

Biden Says G-7 Took Action to Counter China’s Economic Might

Biden regularly frames China as the foremost strategic rival to the U.S., and has also cited growing Chinese influence as a reason to pass his sprawling American Jobs Plan domestic spending package, which is mired in negotiations in Congress.

“I’m not looking for conflict,” he said. “Where we can cooperate, we’ll cooperate. Where we disagree, I’m going to state it frankly.”

The summit featured strong debate behind closed doors over how strong the language related to China should be. The final communique cited China explicitly on human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, but omitted any mention of Beijing in the section on forced labor practices.

U.S. officials said the G-7 had converged on China more than ever before, in particular on human rights abuses. They said that Biden’s efforts to focus pressure on China was resisted by some European leaders. European officials disputed that, saying the bloc is united but that they support infrastructure measures that are broad and positive rather than aimed at countering one country.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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