China's embassy in the United Kingdom said that international decisions can no longer be dictated by a small cadre of global elites, after leaders at the meeting of the G7 group of wealthy nations, which concluded on Sunday, unveiled a new infrastructure plan intended to compete with China's cross-border development plan the Belt and Road Initiative.
The embassy made its remarks on Saturday, ahead of the conclusion of the G7 Summit taking place in Cornwall in the UK, attended by leaders from the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. The infrastructure plan, which is called Build Back Better World, or B3W, is being spearheaded by US President Joe Biden, who identified the summit as an opportunity to "discuss strategic competition with China", according to a White House statement.
"The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone," a spokesman from the Chinese Embassy in the UK said. "We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries."
The embassy criticized the clique-based politics of the Western countries, saying that there should be "only one system and one order in the world, that is, the international system with the United Nations at the core and the international order based on international law, not the so-called system and order advocated by a handful of countries".
The White House said the B3W plan will "help narrow the $40 trillion infrastructure need in the developing world".
But few details have been provided as to how the plan will be implemented and no investment figures were given either.
A senior official in Biden's administration said that the plan is "not just about confronting or taking on China".
Christopher Bovis, a professor of international business law at Hull University, said that the B3W is a strategic play to increase the influence of the G7 on the international stage and compete with the Belt and Road Initiative, which has gathered pace since it was introduced in 2013 with over 130 countries now formally affiliated.
"The intention of G7 economies to offer developing nations an infrastructure plan, referred to as the B3W initiative, is certainly seen as an attempt to counter China's growing influence and success of the Belt and Road Initiative," Bovis told China Daily.
"Furthermore, the B3W, if implemented, is expected to act as a conveyor belt of Western values, standards and the way of doing business, an outcome which will likely be seen as a post-colonial attempt to integrate economically developing economies," Bovis said.
Bovis questioned if the G7 was the suitable group to spearhead such an initiative.
Paul Rogers, a professor of peace studies at Bradford University in the UK, suggested that the G7 may in fact have become outmoded in an increasingly interconnected world with a growing list of shared threats.
"While the G7 is an important meeting, the G20 is far more significant, because it is more representative of the global community," Rogers told China Daily.
Cui Chaoqun in London contributed to this story.