WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden will embark on his first overseas trip in office in June, the White House announced Friday, with the aim of demonstrating his administration’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance and the re-engagement with key allies.
Biden will attend the Group of Seven Summit in Cornwall, England, set for 11-13 June, followed by a visit to Brussels, where he will hold meetings with EU leadership and attend the 14 June Leaders Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Meetings with closest US allies come when Biden invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to a summit in the coming months in a third country, although a date has not yet been set.
The most recent American presidents have selected North American neighbors for their first cross-border trips, although former President Donald Trump, whose penchant for unilateral action and open skepticism towards the NATO alliance has upset American allies, made its first stop abroad in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For Biden, the first trip is meant to turn the page from Trump’s approach to alliances.
“It is both a hands-on opportunity to connect with allies and key partners on shared opportunities and challenges,” said Yohannes Abraham, chief of staff and executive secretary of the National Security Council, in an interview with the PA. “But it is also an example of something on which the president was clear that the transatlantic alliance is back, that revitalizing it is a key priority, and that transatlantic relations are a solid foundation on which our collective security and shared prosperity are built. “.
Biden, for his part, held “virtual bilateral” meetings with the leaders of Canada and Mexico in February and March respectively. The June trip will follow Biden’s first in-person bilateral meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House last week and next month’s scheduled visit by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.
In Cornwall, Biden will hold bilateral meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders. He will hold further personal meetings in Brussels with NATO allies, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“This trip will highlight his commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing transatlantic relations and working closely with our multilateral allies and partners to address global challenges and better protect America’s interests,” he said in a declaration.
The announcement comes shortly after the conclusion of Biden’s two-day virtual climate summit, in which it received praise from leaders, especially European ones, for the U.S. return to the Paris Climate Agreement and re-engagement on a number of other issues of common interest.
The trip will mark Biden’s most ambitious travel schedule yet since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as the president has sought to model safe behavior for the nation.
It comes as the United States stepped up their travel alerts for much of the world due to the virus. Both the UK and Belgium are listed by the State Department at level four, the highest, of a “do not travel” warning, and are subject to specific bans that prevent most travel to the US by non-citizens.
The White House said it is working closely with host countries to ensure the safety of all summit attendees.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revoked quarantine guidelines for international travel for those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, but still recommend that vaccinated people returning from abroad monitor their symptoms and test 3-5 days after returning to the United States.