Biden to lay out his foreign policy at G-7, Munich summit

US President Joe Biden speaks virtually to the Munich Security Conference in Germany from the East Room of the White House in Washington DC

President Joe Biden declared Friday that the alliance between the United States and Europe is back in place after his predecessor Donald Trump strained relations.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a video-conference meeting with US President Joe Biden (on the screen), during 2021 Munich Security Conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on February 19, 2021 amidst the coronavirus outbreak. Watch his remarks in the player above.

"I'm sending a clear message to the world: America is back. The transatlantic alliance is back", Biden said in an address to the Munich Security Conference.

In advance of Biden's virtual appearances at a G-7 meeting and the Munich Security Conference, the White House sought to underscore that the new administration will move quickly to reorient the USA away from Donald Trump's "America First" mantra by announcing major reversals of Trump administration policies.

Biden will drive home his view that major market economies and democracies must work together to tackle challenges posed by great-power competitors like Russian Federation and China, as well as transnational challenges ranging from nuclear proliferation to climate change and cybersecurity, the official said.

Biden said he was not seeking a return to "the rigid blocs of the Cold War", insisting that the worldwide community must work together on issues like the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, even where deep disagreements exist on other issues.

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

Both the G7 and the annual security conference were held virtually because of the pandemic.

Biden's first major foray on the world stage coincided with the USA officially rejoining the Paris climate agreement. Trump announced in June 2017 that he was pulling the USA out of the landmark accord, arguing that it would undermine the American economy.

In his first major foreign policy speech as US president, Biden cast China as its "most serious competitor", pledging to confront what he called "China's economic abuses", "aggressive, coercive action" and "attack on human rights".

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"I'm exhausted of talking about Donald Trump", Biden lamented earlier this week at a CNN town hall in Milwaukee.

To that end, the White House said Biden would be encouraging G-7 partners to make good on their pledges to COVAX, an initiative by the World Health Organization to improve access to vaccines, even as he reopens the US spigot.

It remains to be seen how G-7 allies will take Biden's calls for greater global cooperation on vaccine distribution given that the US refused to take part in the initiative under Trump and that there are growing calls for the Democrat's administration to distribute some USA -manufactured vaccine supplies overseas. Trump withdrew the USA from the agreement in 2017. Using a signature line, he'll also say it's never safe to "bet against America", the official said.

Biden also talked about fighting climate change, and mentioned teaming up with allies to confront China.

On Iran, Biden reiterated his pledge to return to global negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program, but said "we must address Iran's destabilizing activities across the Middle East".

On Thursday, the State Department said it was open to talks with Iran about its nuclear program, and Biden echoed that message Friday.

On Thursday at the United Nations, the Biden administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trump's September 2020 invocation of the so-called "snapback" mechanism under which it maintained that all UN sanctions against Iran had been reimposed.

But the joint statement from Blinken and the other ministers made clear that the Biden administration continues to expect Iran to return to full compliance with the 2015 deal before the USA reengages. A year earlier, the audience was similarly jarred after a speech by Vice President Mike Pence that some participants said would have been more appropriately delivered at a Trump campaign rally.

He received a standing ovation for that promise two years ago, speaking after then-Vice President Mike Pence articulated Trump's "America-First" vision for the country and world.

Why it matters: Biden is seeking to fix the transatlantic alliance after four years of President Trump, who harangued allies about their defense spending and questioned America's commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "Don't have any doubt about that".

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