Day 2 of the 2021 G7 summit

By Eliza Mackintosh, Peter Wilkinson, Melissa Macaya and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 5:20 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021
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5:20 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Biden administration says there's been "convergence" on China issues during G7 summit

From CNN's Betsy Klein in Falmouth, England 

World leaders meet at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 12.
World leaders meet at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 12. Leon Neal/Pool/Getty Images

White House officials on Saturday touted the “convergence” of G7 leaders during this week’s summit ahead of the final day of events, speaking positively, but broadly, about agreement on China.

Despite differences over China during the morning plenary session, a senior administration official told reporters Saturday evening that those “areas of convergence” included “working together to respond to China’s non-market economic practices, … being willing to speak out on human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang – and more than just speaking out, taking action, responding to forced labor in supply chains.”

The official compared the progress this week to the 2018 G7 summit during the Trump administration, where “China wasn’t even explicitly mentioned” in that year’s communiqué, but entire paragraphs were devoted to North Korea and Russia. Yet the official would not give a direct answer as to whether China would be mentioned in this year’s communiqué when asked. That agreement is expected to be released “midday” Sunday, per the official. 

And pressed on the official’s statement that the group agreed to “take action” against China’s practices, the official declined to specify whether any specific actions would be part of the communiqué.

But the official alluded broadly to agreement among the leaders, suggesting they affirmed “a positive agenda, while also being clear about what we don’t tolerate.”

"This G7 is about a positive agenda, not confronting China," the official said in a later statement. "And given some members didn’t even want to mention China just three years ago, this is a huge shift in a short period of time."

There was also a “lot of discussion” during the summit about how the G7 nations could work together to bolster supply chain resiliency, cooperation on technology standards, and support for low-income countries, all measures aimed at advancing strategic competition with China.

A second senior official hopped in at the end of the call after significant audio issues from the first official to reiterate that the US has “seen and felt and been encouraged by growing convergence” among the group in Cornwall this week, and that there is a sense that the G7 has a “strong common foundation” on its approach to China, broadly suggesting that they have “reached consensus on a number of points that are reflective of that shared approach.”

4:01 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

G7 leaders pose for extended family photo and watch flyover as second day of summit wraps

From CNN's Betsy Klein in Falmouth, England 

G7 leaders convened outdoors in Carbis Bay, England, for an “extended family photo” with the 13 participants at Saturday’s plenary session.

The group appeared friendly as they descended constructed steps beside the sea to reach a three-tiered platform.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood at the front of the group as the leaders briefly posed for the group photo, walking back up the stairs moments later.

The leaders were then treated to an extended flyover by the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, flying in a formation of nine with red, white, and blue smoke on a clear Saturday evening.

What comes next: The third and final day of the G7 summit will take place tomorrow with climate and economy as key topics. US President Joe Biden and the first lady are also set to meet with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle before Biden departs for Brussels to attend the 2021 NATO summit.

See the flyover:

3:46 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Biden and Macron call for "rapid reform" of WHO in bilateral meeting 

From Joseph Ataman in Paris

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have jointly called for work on early warning mechanisms and a “rapid reform” of the World Health Organization to prevent a future pandemic, according to the French government. 

When the leaders met Saturday at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, they agreed on the “level of ambition” needed, the objective to be achieved, as well as the method for managing the pandemic, a French government readout of the meeting said. 

Regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the two presidents agreed on the need to prioritize interoperability and the mastery of arms control. There is “good momentum” for the summit on Monday, the French government said. 

The presidents also recognized the need for European and American allies to work in tandem on security, economic recovery and crisis management, according to the French government.

3:47 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

The world needs more Covid-19 vaccines quickly, WHO director-general says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The world needs more coronavirus vaccines — and quickly — including 100 million more doses by the end of this month, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Saturday.

Tedros said he was working at the G7 summit in the UK to negotiate more donations of vaccines from wealthy countries to developing nations.

Cases and deaths from Covid-19 are at the lowest levels they have been since the pandemic began, Tedros told a media briefing after Saturday’s round of meetings.

“But around the world, many countries are now facing a surge in cases and they are facing it without vaccines,” he said. “We are in the race of our lives, but it is not a fair race,” he added.

“To reach the starting gates, we need 100 million more doses right now – this month and next month — and 250 million more by September," he said.

The US has pledged to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine. Britain promised at least 100 million doses, with five million in the coming weeks. Japan, France and Germany have promised to give 30 million doses each.

“To end the pandemic, our goal must be to vaccinate at least 70% of the world’s population by the time the G7 meets again next year,” Tedros said. “To do that, we need 11 billion doses.”

According to WHO, 2.1 billion vaccine doses have been administered — more than 75% of them in just 10 countries.

“We need more and we need them faster,” Tedros said. “Immediate donations are vital …but so is scaling up production including through the use of technology transfer and intellectual property waivers.”

Tedros said intellectual property waivers would not mean an end to all profits for vaccine makers. Under such waivers, pharmaceutical companies would help others produce their vaccines, giving up proprietary secrets and sacrificing at least some profits.

“When we say intellectual property waiver, we don’t mean taking away from property of the private sector,” he said. “This is one virus, one disease. They can make profits from many other products they have.”

But the current pandemic is a rare crisis demanding the use of such waivers, he said. “If we cannot use it now, then when? The solution and the answer is clear. It has to be waived,” he said.

3:21 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

G7 delegates discussed origins of coronavirus, WHO director-general says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Delegates to the meeting in Britain of the G7 countries discussed the origins of the coronavirus, including the idea that it may have come from a laboratory leak, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Saturday.

Tedros told reporters the first phase of the WHO’s study on the origins of the pandemic was not conclusive.

A WHO report released in March listed four possible ways the pandemic could have started, with the most likely being a natural origin from an animal or animals to people, and the least likely being the leak of a virus from a lab.

WHO asked for more investigation. All possibilities will still be explored, Tedros said.

“We believe all hypotheses should be open, and we need to proceed with the second phase (of the investigation) to really know the origin,” Tedros told a media briefing after Saturday’s sessions.

3:07 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Here's what Biden and Macron discussed during their first formal in-person meeting

From CNN's Betsy Klein in Falmouth, England 

President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron visit during a bilateral meeting at the G7 summit on Saturday in Carbis Bay, England.
President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron visit during a bilateral meeting at the G7 summit on Saturday in Carbis Bay, England. Patrick Semansky/AP

The White House sent along a readout of the hour-plus long meeting between US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron this afternoon. 

During their first formal in-person meeting, the leaders discussed cooperation on the pandemic, climate change, the global tax rate, as well as NATO and counterterrorism. 

"President Biden expressed his appreciation for France's leadership on climate issues through the Paris Agreement, and both leaders underscored their dedication to achieve ambitious outcomes at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow in November," a White House statement said.

The readout also noted that both leaders "highlighted their dedication to ending the pandemic, including through participation in the G7 commitment to donate COVID-19 vaccines to countries in need, and to build back better global health security for the future."

And after today’s somewhat contentious session on China competition and ahead of Biden’s meeting with Putin, there is a passing reference in the readout to discussion of “other shared foreign policy priorities such as China and Russia.”

Speaking to cameras during their meeting earlier today, Macron heaped praise on the US President as being "part of the club" following a more fraught relationship with former President Donald Trump.

"We have to deal with this pandemic, and the Covid-19. We have to face a lot of challenges, a lot of crises, climate change, and for all these issues, what we need is cooperation, and I think it's great to have a US President part of the club and very willing to cooperate," Macron said.

The French President added, "I think that what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership, and we do appreciate."

Read more about their meeting here.

2:30 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

"On the cusp of a big transformation": A glimpse into the G7 dinner with world leaders at Eden Project

From CNN's Angela Dewan in Bodelva, England

Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, on June 12.
Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, on June 12. Angela Dewan/CNN

It’s rare to get a glimpse into what is actually said between leaders at G7 meetings, beyond the polished communiqués that are ultimately delivered, showing a united front.

It’s even rarer to know what might have happened at the dinner parties, other than what was on the menu and what everyone wore.

But Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project in Cornwall, England – where world leaders mingled last night with business executives and even the Queen – left the party with a sense of optimism about action on climate change.

The dinner was held in one of the project’s biomes — a greenhouse dome made up of hexagonal windows – surrounded by the beauty of plants and flowers found from the Mediterranean, South Africa, California and Western Australia.

World leaders and Queen Elizabeth II attend a reception at the Eden Project in England on June 11.
World leaders and Queen Elizabeth II attend a reception at the Eden Project in England on June 11. Jack Hill/WPA/Pool/Getty Images

“It was delightful to see a bunch of human beings that happen to lead really powerful countries relaxing, laughing, appreciating — and it made you hopeful. The conversations I was privileged to overhear made me also feel that under the surface there’s a lot going on which isn’t about self-interest – there’s a lot that is – but there’s a lot that isn’t," he said.

“And it felt exciting to me that we could be listening and watching a time which is right on the cusp of a big transformation as people recognize we have to live with the grain of nature. And we’ve often talked in hyperbolic terms about it," he continued.

Smit said he heard positive remarks from business leaders around the "Terra Carter," a roadmap launched by Charles, the Prince of Wales, for businesses and financial markets to move towards sustainability.

The Eden Project's Mediterranean biome on June 12.
The Eden Project's Mediterranean biome on June 12. Angela Dewan/CNN

“When I saw those business guys from his Royal Highness’ team talking about the Terra Carta – and these were people in the room responsible for $15 trillion or more in investment – and they’re saying ‘I’ve put up with 15, 16, 18 months of being bashed over the head by my grandchildren and children,’ there is no case to dispute. We’ve just got to do something, so it’s now about how we organize ourselves," he said.

"And I got a real sense that this is not a moment that we would speak of in years time of another missed opportunity. I had a real sense of serious intent. If only because the joy of being in nature in Eden seemed to put it in starker relief. You knew what you could be losing standing next to all that beauty," Smit said.

2:30 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Key things to know about the US-led G7 initiative aimed at countering China's global infrastructure project

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Maegan Vazquez

The United States says it will be a lead partner in a new global, climate-friendly infrastructure program with its Group of 7 partners, part of President Joe Biden's larger efforts at the G7 summit to better position the US and its allies to compete with China in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Confronting China's authoritarianism, however, emerged as a source of contention between the leaders.

Here are key things to know about the initiative:

  • The White House said the program, presented as an alternative to China's own global infrastructure initiative, will "help narrow the $40+ trillion infrastructure need in the developing world, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic."
  • A senior administration official described the plan, called the "Build Back Better World" initiative, as a "bold, new global infrastructure initiative with our G7 partners that will be values-driven, transparent and sustainable" and will compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
  • The G7 will announce "a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business," a second senior official said.
  • As part of the new infrastructure announcement, the US said the Group of 7 will be joining partners and the private sector in "collectively catalyzing hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment for low and middle-income countries that need it."

China's Belt and Road Initiative, first announced in 2013 under Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to build ports, roads and railways to create new trade corridors linking China to Africa and the rest of Eurasia. The Chinese-funded, cross-continental infrastructure initiative has been seen as an extension of the country's sharp ascent to global power.

Officials described the global infrastructure pitch not as a confrontation with China, but as an alternative path.

"This is not about making countries choose between us and China. This is about offering an affirmative, alternative vision and approach that they would want to choose," the first administration official said.

Read more about the initiative here.

12:59 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Biden is meeting with the Queen at Windsor Castle tomorrow. Here's what to expect at the event.  

From CNN's Max Foster and Lauren Said-Moorhouse

Queen Elizabeth II attends a military ceremony at Windsor Castle in England on June 12.
Queen Elizabeth II attends a military ceremony at Windsor Castle in England on June 12. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The second day of the G7 summit is still underway, but attention is starting to turn to US President Joe Biden's meeting with the Queen tomorrow before he departs for Brussels for the NATO summit.

Biden is in for quite a treat when he and his wife, "Jill from Philly," stop by Windsor Castle Sunday.

To welcome the 46th President, Elizabeth is treating him to an honor guard formed of the Grenadier Guards in the castle's famous quad, Buckingham Palace has announced. The guards — one of the British Army's longest-serving units — will give a Royal Salute, and the US National Anthem will be played.

The Queen has hosted four other presidents at Windsor:

  • Trump in 2018
  • Obama in 2016
  • George W. Bush in 2008
  • Reagan back in 1982

The President will then inspect the troops before rejoining the Queen and first lady to watch the military march-past. Afterward, the group will head into the castle for tea. During our chat with Prince Edward, he discussed the opportunity Biden has in meeting his mother and how others have reacted to spending time with her.

"When you meet somebody who's had that level of personal experience and knowledge, it's, I mean, sometimes, it's funny and can slightly over-awe some people," the 57-year-old mused. "And I think most people can leave wishing that they'd had a little bit longer. That's usually the response — just so would've liked to have had a little bit longer, because that was fascinating."

Ahead of the weekend's big meeting, the royals undertook something of a charm offensive at the G7 in Cornwall. The Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as William and Catherine, descended upon the summit for a reception at the world-famous Eden Project, a striking collection of biomes, one of which is home to the largest indoor rainforest on Earth.

Read more about tomorrow's event.