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Most G7 Countries Really Do Want to Challenge China’s BRI, They Just Can’t Agree How

A Chinese worker carrying materials for the first rail line linking China to Laos, a key part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative across the Mekong, in Luang Prabang. Aidan JONES / AFP

It looks increasingly likely that infrastructure development in the Global South is going to be quite high on the agenda at the upcoming European Union and Group of 7 (G7) meetings in May and June. Specifically, U.S., European and Japanese leaders seem intent on elevating the ongoing discussion about how to build some kind of alternative to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The problem is, there isn’t a consensus on what that actually means. While some parties want to challenge Beijing by providing more environmentally and financially sustainable versions of the roads, bridges, and other infrastructure being built by Chinese actors, others argue that it would be foolish to compete directly in areas where the Chinese clearly have an advantage.

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