Biden’s effort came as G-7 leaders were expected to unveil an infrastructure proposal during the weekend summit in Cornwall, England, called “Build Back Better for the World.”
The goal was to compete with Beijing economically.
The proposal is part of the U.S. administration’s plan to have democratic world leaders present a united front against China, two senior administration officials who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity told reporters, according to The Associated Press.
Biden’s goal for allies to speak against China in one voice may be difficult as some G-7 leaders have been reluctant to call out the Chinese Communist Party.
The group includes leaders from the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed concerns over what he called the “ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing” of Chinese minorities in Xinjiang during a Friday phone call with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing, according to Reuters.
He also spoke about the “deterioration of democratic norms” in Hong Kong and the importance of finding out the origins of the coronavirus, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“Build Back Better for the World” calls for allies spending hundreds of millions of dollars in collaboration with the private sector. 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 already snake around large portions of the world, primarily Asia and Africa. Critics say the projects often create massive debt and expose nations to undue influence by Beijing.
Biden administration officials reportedly see the G-7 as an opportunity to take concrete action to speak out against China’s reliance on forced labor as an “affront to human dignity.”
Beijing has been accused of imposing forced labor on an estimated 1 million Uyghurs and other minorities, as well as torture, forced birth control and family separations. The Communist Party has denied the allegations.
After the G-7 ends Sunday, Biden will leave for Belgium and then Switzerland where he’ll meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.