Biden aims to show US and Europe are ‘tight’ on first foreign trip
President Biden departed for his first foreign trip abroad on Wednesday morning, telling reporters that his goal will be to demonstrate to Russia and China that the alliance between the U.S. and Europe is strong.
“Strengthening the alliance, making clear to Putin and to China that Europe and the United States are tight,” Biden told reporters at Joint Base Andrews before departing for the United Kingdom when asked about the goal of the trip.
Biden also said he would lay out a coronavirus vaccine strategy for the world and that cyberattacks would be a subject of his discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is scheduled for the end of the weeklong trip.
Biden will first meet one-on-one with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and attend a Group of Seven summit in the United Kingdom before traveling on to Brussels to participate in a NATO summit and a U.S.-European Union summit.
Biden is aiming to demonstrate solidarity with allies in Europe and Asia before his meeting with Putin, which will take place next week in Geneva and will be the first one-on-one meeting between the American and the Russian presidents since Biden took office.
Tensions between the United States and Russia have run high for years, and the White House is hoping that the summit with Putin will offer Biden an opportunity to both confront Moscow over its aggressive behavior in Ukraine and cyberspace and also find a way to move forward on areas of agreement, like climate change.
Biden is also hoping to unite allies behind a common approach to counter China’s rise, which has been central to his domestic agenda as he pushes for a robust investment in U.S. infrastructure and climate technology to boost U.S. competitiveness against China.