Biden to make first overseas trip to UK, Belgium in June

Biden to make first overseas trip to UK, Belgium in June
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April 23rd, 2021 | ABC News Radio

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden will make his first overseas trip as president in June, traveling to the United Kingdom and Belgium to participate in the G-7 and NATO summits, the White House announced Friday.

The trip will also highlight the shift in foreign policy between the Biden administration and the Trump administration, which placed a high emphasis on an “America First” approach.

“This trip will highlight his commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing the Transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America’s interests,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement announcing the travel.

Biden will attend the 47th G-7 Summit in Cornwall, U.K., taking place June 11-13, where he will “work to advance key U.S. policy priorities on public health, economic recovery, and climate change, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values among major democracies,” Psaki said.

Psaki also noted Biden will hold bilateral meetings with other G-7 leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of the trip, Psaki added.

Biden will then attend the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium on June 14.

“NATO leaders will discuss how to orient the Alliance to future threats and ensure effective burden sharing. The President will also hold bilateral meetings with fellow NATO leaders,” Psaki said.

The announcement came as Biden was holding a virtual summit with world leaders on climate change.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden pledged part of his presidency would be to re-engaging on the global stage, pledging to rejoin agreements the U.S. withdrew from under Trump, including the Paris Agreement on climate and the World Health Organization.

Biden’s choice of destinations for his first two foreign stops — multilateral summits in Europe aimed at shoring up longstanding alliances — stands in sharp contrast with Trump’s aversion to such traditional, diplomatic events.

His presence will be a complete departure from Trump’s approach to such gatherings, which he often aimed to disrupt by publicly making demands of allies, threatening to withdraw the U.S. from NATO and once even leaving early.

While Trump rarely stuck to the script, Biden has so far displayed his faith in and adherence to the traditional, measured foreign policy-making process.

Presidential travel abroad often comes within the first few months in office, but comes later under Biden due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and travel restrictions in place to curb spread of the virus.

Currently, the United Kingdom is listed as a “Level Four” country by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advising that Americans should avoid all travel to the United Kingdom.

When asked if Americans can expect the president to lift the travel restrictions ahead of his trip, Psaki said she couldn’t make any predictions.

“That is based on the health and recommendations — the health and — the advice and and recommendations of our health and medical team. And I don’t have anything to predict on the front,” Psaki said at her Friday press briefing.

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