A heady agenda of global challenges awaits the leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialised nations when they meet virtually today. But United States President Joe Biden, who will be taking part in his first multilateral talks since taking office last month, also wants to begin the process of building an alliance of like-minded democracies to counter China. At a time of a crippling pandemic, with the world’s economy in tatters and climate change an ever-growing threat, his strategy is rash and misguided. Creating divisions to freeze out Beijing in the name of rivalry or competition makes no sense when quandaries on so great a scale can only be effectively handled by governments working together. Biden to put focus on China, pandemic and economic recovery at G7 talks Earlier this week, the White House issued a statement laying out the key issues for discussion as being the international response to Covid-19 and the world economic recovery, as well as “updating global rules to tackle economic challenges, such as those posed by China”. There was understandably an indignant response from Beijing, with the foreign ministry lambasting “clique politics” and ideological confrontation. The American leader has repeatedly made clear China is his country’s biggest rival and competitor and that only through an alliance can contentious matters such as trade, technology and human rights be effectively dealt with. But he has also pledged to work with the Chinese government on issues of shared interest. Most Britons see China’s rise as a top threat to security, survey finds Apart from the US, the G7 also comprises this year’s host, Britain, along with Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. All have been long-time American allies, but under former president Donald Trump, ties were frayed by a disruptive foreign policy that put US interests ahead of all others. Biden has vowed to restore relations and the G7 meeting is his first opportunity. Britain and Canada are already involved in disputes with China, so there could be a sympathetic hearing from them to his suggestions. Anti-Chinese sentiment is rife in the US and among some allies. Calls to counter China’s economic, technological and military rise are bipartisan among American lawmakers. But resolving the world’s problems requires cooperation. Creating divisions raises further challenges and risks confrontation.