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Biden didn’t have it all his own way as he tried to strong-arm the G7 into issuing a public rebuke to China over Xinjiang.
Published on June 13, 2021 5:45 AM

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Jonny Weeks/Pool via Getty
LONDON—The main aim of President Biden's European tour this week has simply been to show that the United States "is back!" at the heart of the Western diplomatic consensus.

Unfortunately, the world is a little more complicated than that. By Saturday night in England, it was beginning to look like the White House had been a touch over-confident in just how far the charms of Biden would take him in persuading other G7 leaders to swallow all of his policy positions. Even though he isn't Donald Trump.

The president tried to cajole his colleagues to sign a joint statement calling out China directly for forced labor practices in Xinjiang province where the Muslim Uighur minority has been targeted by Beijing. It was not a roaring success.

The White House's own spin conceded as much in characteristically diplomatic language. "There is a little differentiation, I think I would say, within—within, I think, the spectrum of how hard they would push on some of these issues," a senior Biden administration official said in a briefing to reporters.

Reports from inside the room went further with claims of a sharp divide between the leaders over whether China should be called out explicitly. "The disagreements, aired during a session that at one point became so sensitive that all internet was shut off to the room, pitted European nations against the United States, Britain and Canada," according to a CNN report on the meeting....