El G7 acordó un gran plan de ayudas a países de ingresos medios y bajos para contrarrestar el avance de China

Impulsados por EEUU, el grupo lanzó la iniciativa dirigida a naciones de Latinoamérica, el Caribe, África y el Indopacífico que busca movilizar USD 40 billones del sector privado para impulsar proyectos de infraestructura

El presidente estadounidense, Joe Biden, ha convencido al resto de líderes del G7, reunidos en una cumbre en Carbis Bay (el Reino Unido), para lanzar un gran plan de infraestructuras que contrarreste el avance de China. En ese sentido, los dirigentes del G7 acordaron este sábado lanzar la iniciativa “Build back better for the world” (reconstruir mejor para el mundo) para “responder a las necesidades tremendas de infraestructuras en los países de ingresos medios y bajos”, informó la Casa Blanca en un comunicado.

En concreto irá dirigido a naciones de Latinoamérica, el Caribe, África y el Indopacífico. “Los distintos socios del G7 tendrán orientaciones geográficas diferentes, pero la suma de la iniciativa abarcará países de renta baja y media de todo el mundo”, reveló la Casa Blanca.

El plan quiere ser una alternativa al proyecto chino “One Belt, One Road” (una ruta, un cinturón), que pretende revitalizar la conocida como Ruta de la Seda mediante la modernización de infraestructuras y telecomunicaciones para mejorar la conectividad entre Asia y Europa. El objetivo es superar la propuesta china “ofreciendo una opción de mayor calidad”.

El Gobierno estadounidense indicó que su iniciativa de infraestructura es una colaboración entre las grandes democracias para llevar a cabo un proyecto guiado por “los valores, con altos estándares y transparentes”.

El plan “ayuda a estrechar las necesidades de más de 40 billones de dólares en infraestructuras que necesita el mundo en desarrollo, y que se ha visto exacerbada por la pandemia de covid-19”, dijo la Casa Blanca.

La propuesta estadounidense pretende movilizar capital del sector privado para impulsar proyectos en cuatro ámbitos: el clima, la seguridad sanitaria, la tecnología digital y la igualdad de género, además de contar con inversiones de instituciones financieras.

Biden está poniendo el foco sobre China, que compite por la hegemonía mundial frente a EEUU, durante esta cumbre de los líderes de las democracias más industrializadas del mundo (EEUU, el Reino Unido, Alemania, Francia, Italia, Canadá, Japón, más la Unión Europea).

Anteriormente, un funcionario de alto rango de la Administración de Washington había criticado en declaraciones a los periodistas el plan chino “One Belt, One Road”, por lo que consideró su falta de transparencia, los malos estándares laborales y medioambientales, y por supuestamente haber dejado a muchos países en una situación peor.

En paralelo, Biden está presionando al G7 para que adopte “una acción concreta” contra los “trabajos forzados” en la provincia noroccidental china de Xinjiang, donde vive la minoría uigur. El presidente quiere que “se deje claro al mundo que creemos que estas prácticas son una afrenta contra la dignidad humana y un ejemplo indignante de la competencia económica injusta por parte de China”, remarcó la fuente estadounidense.

Biden urges G7 leaders to create unified front to counter China

Leaders of the world’s largest economies unveiled an infrastructure plan Saturday for the developing world to compete with China’s global initiatives, but there was no immediate consensus on how forcefully to call out Beijing over human rights abuses.

Citing China for its forced labor practices is part of President Joe Biden’s campaign to persuade fellow democratic leaders to present a more unified front to compete economically with Beijing. But while they agreed to work toward competing against China, there was less unity on how adversarial a public position the group should take.

Canada, the United Kingdom and France largely endorsed Biden’s position, while Germany, Italy and the European Union showed more hesitancy during Saturday’s first session of the Group of Seven summit, according to a senior Biden administration official. The official who briefed reporters was not authorized to publicly discuss the private meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In his first summit as president, Biden made a point of carving out one-on-one-time with the leaders, bouncing from French president Emmanuel Macron to German chancellor Angela Merkel to Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, a day after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as if to personally try to ward off memories of the chaos that his predecessor would often bring to these gatherings.

Macron told Biden that collaboration was needed on a range of issues and told the American president that “it’s great to have a U.S. president part of the club and very willing to cooperate.” Relations between the allies had become strained during the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency and his “America first” foreign policy.

Merkel, for her part, downplayed differences on China and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which would transport natural gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine.

“The atmosphere is very cooperative, it is characterized by mutual interest,” Merkel said. “There are very good, constructive and very vivid discussions in the sense that one wants to work together.”

Competing with Belt and Road

White House officials have said Biden wants the leaders of the G-7 nations — the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Italy — to speak in a single voice against forced labor practices targeting China’s Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. Biden hopes the denunciation will be part of a joint statement to be released Sunday when the summit ends, but some European allies are reluctant to split so forcefully with Beijing.

China had become one of the more compelling sublots of the wealthy nations’ summit, their first since 2019. Last year’s gathering was canceled because of COVID-19, and recovery from the pandemic is dominating this year’s discussions, with leaders expected to commit to sharing at least 1 billion vaccine shots with struggling countries.

The allies also took the first steps in presenting an infrastructure proposal called “Build Back Better for the World,” a name echoing Biden’s campaign slogan. The plan calls for spending hundreds of billions of dollars in collaboration with the private sector while adhering to climate standards and labor practices.

It’s designed to compete with China’s trillion-dollar “Belt and Road Initiative,” which has launched a network of projects and maritime lanes that snake around large portions of the world, primarily Asia and Africa. Critics say China’s projects often create massive debt and expose nations to undue influence by Beijing.

Britain also wants the world’s democracies to become less reliant on the Asian economic giant. The U.K. government said Saturday’s discussions would tackle “how we can shape the global system to deliver for our people in support of our values,” including by diversifying supply chains that currently heavily depend on China.

Not every European power has viewed China in as harsh a light as Biden, who has painted the rivalry with China as the defining competition for the 21st century. But there are some signs that Europe is willing to impose greater scrutiny.

Before Biden took office in January, the European Commission announced it had come to terms with Beijing on a deal meant to provide Europe and China with greater access to each other’s markets. The Biden administration had hoped to have consultations on the pact.

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. Beijing responded with penalties on several members of the European Parliament and other Europeans critical of the Chinese Communist Party.

Biden administration officials see an opportunity to take concrete action to speak out against China’s reliance on forced labor as an “affront to human dignity.”

While calling out China in the G-7 communique would not create any immediate penalties for Beijing, one senior administration official said the action would send a message that the leaders were serious about defending human rights and working together to eradicate the use of forced labor.

An estimated 1 million people or more — most of them Uyghurs — have been confined in reeducation camps in China’s western Xinjiang region in recent years, according to researchers. Chinese authorities have been accused of imposing forced labor, systematic forced birth control, torture and separating children from incarcerated parents.

Beijing rejects allegations that it is committing crimes.

Environmental protest

Johnson, the summit host, also welcomed the leaders from “guest nations” South Korea, Australia and South Africa, as well as the head of the United Nations, to the summit to “intensify cooperation between the world’s democratic and technologically advanced nations.”

The leaders planned to attend a barbecue Saturday night, complete with toasted marshmallows, hot buttered rum and a performance by a sea shanty troupe.

India was also invited but its delegation is not attending in person because of the severe coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Hundreds of environmental protesters took to the Cornish seaside early Saturday in a bid to draw the attention to climate issues. A crowd of surfers, kayakers and swimmers gathered on a beach in Falmouth for a mass “paddle out protest” organized by Surfers Against Sewage, a group campaigning for more ocean protections.

The leaders took steps to transition away from the use of coal, committing to spend $2 billion to help developing nations move off the fuel by funding job training and technology improvements. Japan had expressed reluctance to slow the construction of new coal fired plants. China remains a big funder of the technology.

Biden ends the trip Wednesday by meeting in Geneva with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The White House announced Saturday that they will not hold a joint news conference afterward, which removes the opportunity for comparisons to the availability that followed Trump and Putin’s 2018 Helsinki summit, in which Trump sided with Moscow over his own intelligence agencies. Only Biden will address the news media after the meeting.

Putin, in an interview with NBC News, said the U.S.-Russia relationship had “deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years.”

He added that while Trump was a “talented” and “colorful” person, Biden was a “career man” in politics, which has “some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements” by the U.S. president. Text by: NEWS WIRES