The White House has announced that US President Joe Biden will participate in a virtual Group of seven (G7) event on Friday, 19th February, where he plans to discuss efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, rebuild the world economy and deal with China.
In a statement, the White House noted that the meeting is the first by top leaders from the “G7 group of rich democracies” since April 2020 and represents a departure from former President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic and global relations. The virtual meeting, hosted by the United Kingdom, will also include leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the European Commission and European Council.
The White House’s statement revealed that President Biden would focus his remarks on a global response to COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution as well as “continued efforts to mobilise and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing.
“This virtual engagement with leaders of the world’s leading democratic market economies will provide an opportunity for President Biden to discuss plans to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild the global economy.”White House statement
He’ll specifically focus on areas including “coordination on vaccine production, distribution, and supplies, as well as continued efforts to mobilize and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing,”
Mr Biden has sought to project a message of re-engagement with the world and with global institutions after four years of his predecessor’s “America First” mantra. Throughout his term, Trump publicly questioned the value of the US’ longstanding alliances, including with NATO, Germany, South Korea and Japan. The former President also pulled the US from the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord, the World Health Organization (WHO) and a host of other United Nations agencies.
However, on his first day in office, President Biden reversed several of Trump’s attempts to withdraw from international agreements, begun the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord and halted the departure from the WHO. He has also signalled a desire to work with allies in confronting China on a number of thorny issues.
“President Biden will also discuss the need to make investments to strengthen our collective competitiveness and the importance of updating global rules to tackle economic challenges such as those posed by China.”The White House
Domestically, Biden is pressing Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to boost the US economy and provide relief for those suffering from the pandemic. The White House said he would discuss his economic agenda with G7 counterparts and encourage them and all industrialised countries to maintain “economic support for the recovery” and other collective measures.
Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement that he will use the virtual event to call for global cooperation in the battle against the “common foe”; coronavirus. He added that he will charge the leaders to “work together on a joined-up global approach to pandemics that brings an end to the nationalist and divisive politics that marred the initial response to coronavirus.”
“Quantum leaps in science have given us the vaccines we need to end this pandemic for good. Now world governments have a responsibility to work together to put those vaccines to the best possible use. I hope 2021 will be remembered as the year humanity worked together like never before to defeat a common foe.”Boris Johnson
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