MEMBERS of the G7 are the leading nations of the free world and their meeting this weekend must be more than backslapping.
In front of them are the enormous issues of getting our economies back to growth and fighting the pandemic.
Yet despite the huge importance of these issues, President Biden is right to highlight how the growing shadow of China looms over everything they do.
That’s why Boris Johnson’s declaration that we haven’t forgotten the developing world and the pledge to share a billion doses of vaccines with the poorest countries is most welcome. And so is Mr Biden’s call for a G7 initiative to help increase financial support to developing countries to counter China’s Belt and Road project.
China will spend up to eight trillion dollars in loans to the developing world — dwarfing the West’s offerings.
This money isn’t a gift, for those in debt to China have to support them against the West. This is part of China’s ideological war against the free world — one it believes it is winning.
China’s Belt and Road project now stretches through Asia, Africa and Latin America, to the Caribbean — right into the USA’s back yard. Worse, even Eastern and Southern European countries — members of Nato — are now linking themselves to it.
Red China’s reach doesn’t stop there. It now dominates the supply and production of the world’s rare earth materials and most of the production capability. These are the oil of the 21st Century and we simply can’t live without them. They are vital for everything — from the use of batteries for cars, in mobile phones and computers, to televisions, lighting and fibre optics.
China will be the world’s largest economy by 2028 with the largest military in the next two decades.
The leaders of the free world have been asleep on the watch. Country after country has become dependent on China for investment, nuclear power and telecoms infrastructure.
Yet this Chinese government is a brutal, dictatorial and violent regime. It is torturing and forcing its Uighur population into slave labour and they practise the same brutality on the Tibetans, the Christians and other religious sects.
Its leaders are imprisoning democracy campaigners in Hong Kong and threatening Taiwan with invasion. They have seized the South China seas and killed Indian soldiers on their border.
With South Korea, South Africa, Australia and India attending the summit yesterday, the G7 leaders cannot continue to feed this Chinese state with investment and trade and simply wring their hands about its terrible behaviour. This weak approach helps China’s growing dominance.
Biden and Johnson’s new Atlantic Charter must now lead the free world to stand up to China. The memory of what happened in the 1930s should warn and guide us.
The most valuable commodity we own is our freedom and for too many it is already lost.
The G7 must remember that freedom only exists if we are prepared to defend it.
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