China, COVID, Climate: What Is Being Discussed at G7 Summit?

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At the ongoing G7 Summit, the first physical summit since 2019, the leaders confronted China’s growing influence, spoke about the need for a better response to COVID, and the need to offer support to developing countries to tackle climate change.

The G7 leaders’ summit, which include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, evoked a response from China, who said that a small group of countries do not decide the fate of the world anymore.

What Is Being Said About China?

At the G7, the leaders discussed the ‘Build Back Better World’ (B3W) project, which is aimed to compete with China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road infrastructure. China’s project has been criticised for saddling small countries with huge amounts of debt.

This rival plan aims at building infrastructure in poorer nations through a “value-driven, high-standard and transparent” partnership. This project comes after Biden met to address the “strategic competition with China” and the commitment needed to “help meet the tremendous infrastructure need in low and middle-income countries”, the White House said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau led a Group of Seven discussion of China on Saturday, 12 June, and called on leaders to come up with a unified approach to the challenges posed by the People's Republic, a source said.

US President Biden pushed for measures against China’s forced labour practices, especially against the Uyghur minority. A US official said Biden wanted “concrete action” on the forced labour accusations, calling them “an affront to human dignity, and an egregious example of China’s unfair economic competition”, reports state.

On Saturday, G7 leaders were joined by leaders of Australia, South Africa, South Korea and India. India’s PM Narendra Modi committed India's support for collective endeavours to improve global health governance. Modi expressed his appreciation for the support extended by G7 leaders to India during the second wave of this deadly pandemic in the country.

Also Read: 'One Earth One Health': PM Shares Appreciation for G7's COVID Help

How China Responded to the Criticism in G7?

"The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone," a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London said.

President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road initiative in 2013 to significantly expand China's economic and political influence, with many of the infrastructure plans seen as helping deliver its goods globally. While many say this is a nature of “debt-trap diplomacy”, China denies any ulterior motives to the vast investment project.

What Is Being Said About Response to COVID?

Britain hailed the G7 agreement called the ‘Carbis Bay Declaration’, a series of initiatives to be taken to curb pandemics in the future.

This is in the context of COVID-19, a pandemic that has taken millions of lives across the world, set economies back and caused unimaginable trauma.

The initiatives of the declaration include reducing the time taken to develop and license vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to under 100 days. “The #CarbisBayDeclaration marks a proud and historic moment for us all,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter.

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The G7 leaders are also expected to pledge to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to poor countries, although campaigners say the roll out is slow as it is expected to happen over this year and next.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "We welcome the generous announcement made by G7 nations about donations of vaccines but we need more and we need them faster. Immediate donations are vital."

What Is Being Said About Climate Change?

At a concluding session in southwest England, US President Biden and his colleagues said they were to promise more financial support to tackle climate change for developing countries.

The G7 has been rallying towards greater action and accountability towards the planetary crisis in the build-up to the UN’s COP26 to be held in November in Scotland later this year.

(With inputs from Reuters and Agency France-Presse)

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