Joe Biden called on democratic Western nations to collectively harden the leadership of China and other “autocratic governments around the world” in order to win a great battle of ideologies.
The US president used much of his G7 summit press conference to denounce China’s increasingly aggressive human rights violations, unfair trade practices and foreign policy maneuvers.
Biden said his strong stance on China helped convince other G7 leaders to include a number of criticisms of the country’s government in the final statement.
“The last time the G7 met there was no mention of China, but this time it is,” he said.
“I think we are in a contest, not with China per se, but a contest with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world over whether or not democracies can compete with them in a rapidly evolving 21st century.
“That we come together as determined democracies, that our grandchildren look back and ask ‘they have stepped up their efforts, are democracies as relevant and powerful as they have been.”
Tackling China’s growing global dominance was a key theme throughout the G7 summit in Cornwall, with the final communiqué referring to the country four times.
The joint statement, signed by the G7 leaders, denounces the Chinese campaign of ethnic cleansing of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, urges the Chinese government to cooperate in the investigations into the origins of Covid-19 and also pledges to “challenge” and trade policies.
The statement also underscored its concern over China’s growing attempts to expand into the South China Sea, which is creating tensions with other Asian countries.
One of the main announcements of the summit was a new joint green infrastructure plan for developing countries, which is expected to challenge China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has seen the country spend billions of dollars on infrastructure in more than 100 countries around the world to build a new, interconnected Silk Road.
Beijing has been widely accused of having used this program to increase its global economic influence and of having held countries to ransom for the investments made.
The new Build Better for the World program will see the world’s richest democracies providing “high-quality funding for vital infrastructure” in places like Africa and Asia.
Details on how the fund will be distributed or how much each G7 country will donate have yet to be decided.
Biden said the plan would “help meet the more than $ 40 trillion needed” to build vital infrastructure in the developing world, while also serving as a bulwark against China.
“What is happening is that China has its Belt and Road and we believe there is a much more equitable way to meet the needs of countries around the world,” he said.
“It will be a transparent, high-quality and values-driven funding mechanism that we will provide and support the project in four key areas – climate, health, technology and gender equity.
“We believe it will not only be good for these countries, but good for the whole world to represent the values that our democracies represent and not a lack of autocratic value.”
Boris Johnson said at his last G7 press conference that “we need to strengthen our credibility with those [developing] countries by asking them to make cuts with Co2 ”.
“This country, which started the industrial revolution, is responsible for a huge budget of carbon already in the atmosphere,” he said.
“We are now asking other countries to make a change. “