Biden addresses G7, Munich Security Conference

Saturday, 20 Feb, 2021

In an online speech to the Munich Security Conference, Biden drew a stark difference with the more transactional foreign policy practiced by Trump, who angered allies by breaking off global accords and threatening to end defense assistance unless they toed his line.

Biden was expected to use his address to the Munich conference to stress that the USA stands ready to rejoin talks about reentering the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear deal abandoned by the Trump administration.

"The threat of nuclear proliferation also continues to require careful diplomacy and cooperation among us", Biden told fellow leaders via teleconference.

A senior United States official said the Biden administration was showing good faith and saw a meeting as the start of a "prolonged path" to restoring and building on the nuclear accord.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday that the United States is returning to the transatlantic partnership and will address global challenges like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Joe Biden talks with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Senior Director for Europe Amanda Sloat in the Oval Office on January 25, prior to talking on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

According to Biden's remarks, democratic progress is under assault in many places, including the USA and Europe, yet the president is convinced that "democracy must prevail". "We have to defend it".

But the tone of the G7 was distinctly cooperative and collective - as Biden tried to project a message of re-engagement with the world and with global institutions after four years of Donald Trump's "America First" policies. Pence ended by declaring "God bless America".

Biden on the campaign trail vowed to reassert USA leadership in the global community, a role that Trump often shied away from while complaining that the US was too frequently taken advantage of by freeloading allies.

"It comes down to this", he declared.

Biden's remarks will build upon his actions in office so far. "We will be back".

Where Trump called the European Union a foe, Biden held it up as a close partner.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday he plans to discuss the global response to the pandemic, reopening the world economy and countering China.

"Let me erase any lingering doubt", he said. "And if we work together with our democratic partners, with strength and confidence, I know that we will meet every challenge and outpace every challenger", Biden is expected to say.

He said the world was at an "inflection point" between democracy and more autocratic regimes; his statement that "democratic progress is under assault" could be interpreted as describing his own country as well as foreign nations.

"An attack on one is an attack on all". And the only time Article 5 has been invoked was after the United States was attacked on 9/11.

"Jobs and growth is what we're going to need after this pandemic", Johnson told the opening of the meeting.

Biden also had tough words for Russian Federation. 'The Kremlin attacks our democracies and weaponises corruption to try and undermine our system of governance, he said.

"It's an unprecedented acceleration of global inequality and it's politically unsustainable too because it's paving the way for a war of influence over vaccines", he told the Financial Times, as Russian Federation and China step up free or low-priced distribution of their own jabs.

At the G7, Biden brought a pledge of $4 billion (4.6 billion euros) in U.S. aid to the UN's Covax fund to buy vaccines for global distribution.

And in a nod to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the policies of the president's predecessor, Biden would "acknowledge that democracy is under stress, democratic institutions are under stress, under challenge in the United States" as they are elsewhere, the official told reporters Thursday evening.

Similarly, US partners should stand together against 'the Chinese government's economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the worldwide economic system, he said.

Biden also talked about cooperation in space exploration, including efforts to explore Mars.

While welcoming reengagement by the US, France's President Emmanuel Macron said Europe must still step up to ensure its own security. "The last four years have been hard, but Europe and the United States have to lead with confidence once more", Biden said.

Stuart Lau contributed reporting.