POTUS Joe Biden pushes G7 leaders to call out China on forced labour in Xinjiang
US President Joe Biden is pushing world leaders to call out China over allegations of forced labour in Xinjiang as the Group of Seven (G7) leaders prepare to unveil a global infrastructure plan meant to compete with Beijing.
According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Biden will join leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom for a session focused on China on the second day of the G7 summit. The main issue during the session will be how China has divided world leaders and Biden will be urging democratic nations to jointly confront Beijing and French President Emmanuel Macron calling for a more cautious approach.
The G7 leaders and their delegations were still negotiating the details of a communique expected to be released at the end of the summit, although it is unclear that the document will call out China by name.
"It's an expression of our shared values to make clear what we won't tolerate as the United States and as a G7, so we think it's critical to call out the use of forced labour," the official said.
This comes as human rights groups, along with leading countries, have alleged that Chinese authorities are committing genocide against ethnic Uyghur Muslims and using forced labour in the Xinjiang region. However, China has refuted these allegations, claiming to combat terrorism and improving livelihoods in Xinjiang.
G7 foreign ministers in a joint statement on May said: "In line with its obligations under international and national law, we call on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms."
Under the current G7 summit theme 'Build Back Better', Biden administration officials said that the plan is to be an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure effort aimed at binding China more closely to the rest of the world, reported WSJ.
However, some European leaders have warned against antagonising China, arguing that it is counterproductive and could complicate their efforts to seek Beijing's cooperation on issues like climate change, trade and finance.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration officials said they were not trying to make China the overriding issue at the summit, according to WSJ.
"This is not just about confronting or taking on China; this is about providing a positive, affirmative vision for the world," the official said.
The G7 summit began formally on Friday as the leaders of the world's most advanced economies gathered on the Cornish coast for the first time since the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The gathered nations will pledge to donate 1 billion COVID vaccine doses, with the US providing about half of those shots.
The G7 summit was shaping up to potentially be one of the most consequential in recent memory with a pandemic raging in much of the world, a global economy still in shock and threats rising from Russia and China, CNN reported.
Queen Elizabeth II and other senior members of the royal family also met G7 leaders and their partners at a reception in Cornwall.
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