China on Saturday warned leaders of the G7 countries that the days when a small group of countries made global decisions were gone. The Group of 7 summit, which brings together the heads of France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, is being held at Carbis Bay in Cornwall. India has been invited as one of the guest countries.

The statement came hours after the G7 countries adopted a plan to fulfil infrastructure needs in low and middle-income countries. This plan will rival China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative and is seen as a way to counter China’s growing economic clout.

“We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries,” a spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom said in a statement. “The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone.”

The spokesperson added: “There is only one system and one order in the world, that is, the international system with the United Nations at the core and the international order based on international law, not the so-called system and order advocated by a handful of countries.”

He said that China hopes that world leaders will take steps to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative has helped build roads and ports in several countries but has been criticised for burdening those countries with debts. The multi-trillion-dollar project was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. More than 100 countries have entered into agreements with China under the project.

An unidentified official told Reuters that Canada President Justin Trudeau had called G7 leaders to come up with an approach for the challenges posed by China. On Saturday, the White House had said that United States President Joe Biden met G7 leaders to “discuss strategic competition with China” and commit to concrete actions to help poorer countries.