President Joe Biden pressed G-7 leaders to take concrete steps to counter China’s rising global influence on Saturday, the second day of the annual summit.
European leaders, though, did not necessarily agree on how to approach suggesting changes in Beijing’s labor practices.
Falling largely into step with Biden’s urging were the U.K., Canada and France, but Germany, Italy and the European Union were not so eager during the first session of the summit, according to a senior Biden administration official who requested anonymity when he spoke to reporters.
White House officials told news outlets that Biden wants these leaders to promote a singular view on China’s forced labor practices targeting Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.
The G7 leaders, meeting at Carbis Bay in southwest England for their first gathering since 2019, are considering the entire narrative of how to deal with China.
A senior official within the Biden Administration said the president was challenging the leaders to present a standard for dealings with Beijing.
“This is not just about confronting or taking on China,” the official said. “But until now we haven’t offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business.”
China has repeatedly issued denials when confronted with abuse allegations, but there’s more to it.
“The point is to send a wake-up call that the G-7 is serious about defending human rights, and that we need to work together to eradicate forced labor from our products,” the official said.
On Tuesday, Biden will meet with leaders of the European Union, and then there’s Wednesday’s summit in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin.