Biden lays out foreign policy priorities at Munich summit

Biden lays out foreign policy priorities at Munich summit

Biden was also expected to address economic and national security challenges posed by Russian Federation and China, as well as the two-decade war in Afghanistan, where he faces a May 1 deadline to remove the remaining 2,500 USA troops under a Trump administration negotiated peace agreement with the Taliban.

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.

Biden reaffirmed the USA commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Article V, the mutual-defense promise among treaty members that has been a pillar of the postwar democratic order but which former President Trump had only grudgingly embraced. "But the United States is determined - determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trust and leadership".

Biden will be making his case after America's democracy was shaken at home by the assault on the Capitol on January 6, with many in his audience wondering if Trump was a populist, nationalist aberration or sign of things to come in the U.S.

He added: "Let me erase any doubt, the United States will work closely with our European Union partners and capitals across the continent from Rome to Riga to meet the range of shared challenges we face".

"Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values".

© Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images A health worker holds a dose during a vaccination drill before the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine at Patio Bonito Tintal hospital on January 26, 2021, in Bogota, Colombia.

Part of Biden's recommitment to the world consisted of an announcement the USA will donate $4 billion to a global initiative to distribute vaccine doses to poor countries.

Joe Biden was back on the (virtual) stage of the Munich Security Conference Friday.

Biden: Standing up for Ukraine

"We have learned actually over the course of the past four years, that democracy, as he will put it, doesn't happen by accident - that we have to work at it, that we need to fight for it", the official said.

The Biden administration had already signaled a break from Trump's nationalist approach. And on Friday, he made clear his markedly different approach to Russia, China and Iran. "The Kremlin attacks our democracies and weaponizes corruption to try to undermine our system of governance", he said.

But Biden delivered harsh warnings about the threats he said are posed by Russian Federation and China. "Everyone, everyone must play by the same rules". He echoed Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's comments Thursday expressing a desire to renew an agreement once Iran returns to full compliance with the original terms. "We will work with our European and other partners as we proceed".

Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency this week that it would suspend voluntary implementation next week of a provision in the 2015 deal that allowed United Nations nuclear monitors to conduct inspections of undeclared sites in Iran at short notice unless the USA rolled back sanctions by February 23.

© Christopher Black/WHO via Reuters, FILE Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization attends a news conference on the outbreak of coronavirus disease in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 12, 2021.

In his first major foreign policy speech as USA 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".

The official said Thursday night "we are keen to sit down and hear what the Iranians have to say". He did not say whether he would stick to the deal.

Biden's turn on the world stage comes as the USA on Friday officially rejoins the Paris climate agreement, the largest worldwide effort to curb global warming.

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