Exclusive: Biden will urge allies to take action against Chinese forced labor at G7 advisors

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese and US flags flutter outside an American company building in Beijing

By Andrea Shalal and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will urge its group of seven allies to step up pressure on China over the use of forced labor in its northwestern province of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, a senior White House official said on Friday.

US President Joe Biden will personally attend a meeting of the G7 developed countries in the UK in June, where he is expected to focus on what he sees as a strategic rivalry between democracies and autocratic states, particularly China.

Daleep Singh, Biden Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, said the G7 meeting in Cornwall will focus on health security, a synchronized economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, concrete action on climate change and “increase” focus common democratic values ​​within the G7. “

“These are like-minded allies and we want to take concrete and concrete action that shows our willingness to coordinate non-market economies like China,” Singh, who is helping coordinate the meeting, told Reuters in an interview.

“The challenge for the G7 is to show that open societies and democratic societies still have the best chance of solving the world’s biggest problems and that top-down autocracies are not the best way to go,” he said.

Singh said Washington has already taken strong action against China for human rights abuses in Xinjiang, but would seek to step up efforts with G7 allies. Joint sanctions against Chinese officials accused of abuse in the province were announced last month by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada.

China denies all allegations of abuse and has responded with its own punitive measures against the EU.

Singh said details would be worked out ahead of the meeting, but the summit was an opportunity for US allies to show solidarity on the issue.

“We have made our views clear that our consumers deserve to know when the goods they are importing are being made using forced labor,” he said. “Our values ​​must flow into our trade relations.”

Washington, he said, would look to the G7 to take clear steps “to enhance our shared values ​​as democracies and, and these certainly apply to what is going on in Xinjiang.”

Activists and UN legal experts say at least 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of torture, forced labor and sterilization. China says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

The White House announced on Friday that Biden will be traveling to the UK and Belgium on his first overseas trip since taking office in June, including a stop at the G7 summit in Cornwall, UK June 11-13.

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