NEWQUAY, ENGLAND (AP) — United States (US) President Joe Biden yesterday said the US had restored its presence on the world stage as he used his first overseas trip since taking office to connect with a new generation of leaders from some of the world’s most powerful countries and more closely unite allies on addressing the coronavirus pandemic, and China’s trade and labour practices.
As he wrapped three days of what he called “an extraordinarily collaborative and productive meeting” at the Group of Seven (G7) summit of wealthy democracies, Biden said there was “genuine enthusiasm” for his engagement.
“America’s back in the business of leading the world alongside nations who share our most deeply held values,” Biden said at a news conference before leaving Cornwall to pay for a visit with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle. “I think we’ve made progress in re-establishing American credibility among our closest friends.”
The president, who is on an eight-day, three country trip, left his mark on the G7 by announcing a commitment to share 500 million coronavirus vaccine doses with the world and pressing allies to do the same. The leaders yesterday confirmed their intent to donate more than one billion doses to low-income countries in the next year.
The other G7 allies did their part in creating the impression that Biden was part of “the Club” and sought to help reinforce Biden’s “America is back” mantra, including by embracing his campaign slogan to “Build Back Better” from the pandemic. “We’re totally on the same page,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of Biden.
At the summit, Biden met France’s Emmanuel Macron for the first time, and the two acted like old friends.
Macron did not utter Donald Trump’s name but offered an unambiguous shot at the former president. Macron noted his relief that with Biden, he was now working with an American president “willing to cooperate”.
“What you demonstrate is leadership is partnership,” Macron said of Biden.
Most European allies had been disenchanted with Trump’s grumbling of “global freeloaders” and espousing an “America First” policy, so Biden had the challenge of convincing a sceptical audience that the last US administration was not a harbinger of a more insular country.
At the summit, Biden also met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
Following the news conference, Biden planned to travel to Windsor Castle for a private audience with the queen — becoming the 13th president to have met with the 95-year-old monarch during her nearly-70 year reign.
The president was then scheduled to fly Brussels for meetings with North Atlantic Treay Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) leaders before a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Geneva.