(Bloomberg) – Joe Biden will attend the G7 summit in Cornwall, Great Britain, and a NATO meeting in Brussels in June this year during his first trip abroad as US President, the White House said on Friday.
“This trip will underscore his commitment to reestablishing our alliances, revitalizing transatlantic ties, and working closely with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better safeguard America’s interests,” said Jen Psaki, White’s press secretary House, in a statement.
The trip signals a new phase in the coronavirus pandemic that has largely halted international travel – even among world leaders. Biden hosted a foreign leader – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga – at the White House for the first time just last week, and the US hosted this week’s global climate summit virtually.
Last year’s Group of Seven meeting was supposed to be hosted by former President Donald Trump at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, but was ultimately scrapped when other nations expressed reservations about personal travel.
Biden will be the second consecutive president to abandon the modern presidential tradition of making Canada the first overseas visit. Instead, Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, the Vatican and Belgium for his first trip abroad. But Biden was hosting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first virtual summit and spoke to the Canadian leader about vaccine supplies earlier this week.
The G7 talks will focus on “public health, economic recovery and climate change, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values between major democracies,” and Biden will hold bilateral meetings with other leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Psaki said. In Brussels, Biden will also attend a US-EU summit to discuss health, economic, climate change and foreign policy issues.
The White House indicated that Biden’s inaugural trip could be expanded to include additional stops. The US President has invited Vladimir Putin to a summit hosted by a third country in Europe, although the Russian President has not yet officially accepted it and White House officials have stated that planning for the possible meeting is still at an early stage.