© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the May jobs report after US employers increased hiring amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-) pandemic. 19), at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, USA, June 4 and 20
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden leaves for Britain on Wednesday on his first overseas trip since taking office, an eight-day mission to rebuild strained transatlantic ties during the Trump era and to rethink relations with Russia.
The trip represents a test of the Democratic president’s ability to manage and repair relationships with key allies who became disenchanted with trade tariffs and then-President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from international treaties.
“Will the democratic alliances and institutions that shaped much of the last century prove their ability against today’s threats and adversaries? I think the answer is yes. And this week in Europe, we have the opportunity to prove it,” he said Biden. in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
Speaking to reporters on the track as he left for Europe, Biden said his goals were “to strengthen the alliance, to make it clear to Putin and China that Europe and the United States are united.”
His summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16 in Geneva is the cornerstone of the trip, an opportunity to raise US concerns directly with Putin about ransomware attacks emanating from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine and a host of other issues.
Biden will make his first stop in the seaside town of St. Ives in Cornwall, where he will participate in the G7 summit. The meeting is expected to be dominated by vaccine diplomacy, trade, climate and an initiative to rebuild infrastructure in the developing world. US officials see that effort as a way to counter China’s growing influence.
Biden may face pressure to do more to share US vaccine supplies with other countries after an initial promise of 20 million doses announced last week. Before leaving the United States, Biden said he planned to announce a vaccine plan to the world.
His push for a global minimum tax on multinational corporations faces opposition at home. G7 finance ministers agreed before the summit to pursue a global minimum tax rate of at least 15% and allow market countries to tax up to 20% of surplus profits, above a 10% margin, generated. by about 100 companies.
Republicans spoke out against the plan this week, which could complicate the United States’ ability to implement a broader global agreement.
Biden will have a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday in Cornwall, an opportunity to renew the “special relationship” between the United States and Britain after Britain’s Brexit break with the European Union.
After a three-day G7 summit, Biden and his wife, Jill, will visit Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. The 78-year-old Biden met the queen in 1982 when he was a senator from Delaware.
Later, Biden travels to Brussels to talk with the leaders of NATO and the European Union. The agenda is expected to be dominated by Russia, China and the perennial theme of getting NATO allies to contribute more to the common defense.
Biden closes the trip in Geneva for what could be the most difficult meeting of the week: a session with Putin, who had enjoyed friendly relations with Trump.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden hopes his G7 and NATO meetings will reinforce a sense of allied unity as he enters his session with Putin.
No big strides are expected from the summit. Sullivan said Biden would pressure Putin on America’s priorities. The two sides were negotiating the advisability of holding a joint press conference.
When asked by reporters if his meeting with Putin would produce a cybersecurity deal, Biden did not compromise.
“Who knows?” Biden said. “It will be a topic of our discussion.”
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