Joe Biden on Wednesday departed for Europe, taking his first-ever trip across the borders of the United States since he assumed office as President.
The eight-day mission is set to rebuild trans-Atlantic ties strained during the Donald Trump era and to reframe relations with Russia.
The President, who has quite a couple of appointments with foreign leaders, will be making his first stop at the seaside village of St. Ives in Cornwall where he will participate in the G7 summit to center on vaccine diplomacy, trade, climate and an initiative for rebuilding infrastructure in the developing world.
The meeting is widely perceived by U.S. officials to be a way to counter China’s growing influence.
“Will the democratic alliances and institutions that shaped so much of the last century prove their capacity against modern-day threats and adversaries? I believe the answer is yes. And this week in Europe, we have the chance to prove it,” Biden said in an opinion article published in the Washington Post.
One of the highly anticipated meetings of this trip is the forthcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold on June 16 in Geneva. It will set an opportunity for both leaders to raise their concerns regarding the conflicting issues that have caused a huge blow to the relations between Washington and Moscow in past months.
The US President will also have a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday in Cornwall, a chance to renew the U.S.-British “special relationship” after Britain’s Brexit break from the European Union.
After three days of G7 summitry, Biden and his wife Jill will visit Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. The 78-year-old Biden met the queen back in 1982 when he was a U.S. senator from Delaware.
Afterwards Biden travels to Brussels for talks with leaders of NATO and the European Union. The agenda is expected to be dominated by Russia, China and the perennial issue of getting NATO allies to contribute more to the common defense.