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Joe Biden, In First "Meeting" Justin Trudeau Pledge to Counter China, Climate Change

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to turn the page on the Trump era, emphasizing the deep ties between the countries and promising to work together to counteract Chinese influence and tackle climate change.

Biden told Trudeau via an electronic video link with the Canadian leader and top aides, 'The United States has no closer friend, no closer friend than Canada.' "That's why you were my first call as president (and) my first bilateral meeting,"That's why you were my first call as president (and) my first bilateral meeting.

The two leaders emerged after speaking for about two hours and said they planned to work closely together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.


Biden was also thanked by Trudeau for reiterating U.S. support for the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians held by China. "Human beings are not bartering chips, "Human beings are not trading chips. "We're going to work together until we get their safe return."

After delivering their remarks, Biden and Trudeau did not take questions.


Trudeau welcomed the Biden administration, citing the renewed attention of Washington to climate change in particular, as opposed to the former U.S. Donald Trump, President.


"Thank you, again, for stepping up in such a big way on tackling climate change. U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years," said the prime minister.


Canada has often been the first foreign stop of a U.S. president, but the COVID-19 pandemic turned the sit-down between the two leaders into a virtual affair with some of their top deputies.

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other officials, all wearing dark masks, were sitting at a long table in the meeting room of the White House, near a large video screen beaming from Ottawa in Trudeau's image.


There was no progress on the possibility of Canada accessing COVID-19 vaccines produced in the United States, a Canadian government source said. Canada is receiving doses from plants in Europe at the moment.

"We're focused on ourselves, the United States is focused on itself. They feel they have a supply shortage, so there is no news on that front," said the source, who, given the sensitivity of the situation, requested anonymity.




ALLIANCE RECINDLED


Shortly after taking office on Jan. 20, Biden irritated Ottawa by blocking the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline project to pump crude oil sands from Alberta to Nebraska and proposing a "Buy American" program to direct more U.S. spending towards domestic producers.

The two leaders, however, made it clear that they wanted to put the conflict behind them and work together.


As an early view of the Biden diplomacy, the meeting drew scrutiny. "Everyone around the world is watching this meeting very closely. They will want to get what the Canadians got and they won't all succeed. This is the top level of access, the gold standard," said a senior Western diplomat in Ottawa.


"We feel we're going to the races here," the source from the Canadian government added."

When the Democrat was declared the winner of the November election, Trudeau was the first world leader to congratulate Biden, illustrating the degree to which the close U.S. ally is looking to move on from Trump's four years in office.


Tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel were imposed by the Republican former president, who often clashed with traditional allies on trade. "very dishonest and weak"very dishonest and weak.


The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, talks that for years consumed Trudeau's government, was also forced by Trump.

A 45-minute meeting between Biden, Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and their Canadian counterparts began with Tuesday's session.


It followed another meeting with more officials. His finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, and others accompanied Trudeau.

The official said that after Canada's detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, on a U.S. arrest warrant, the White House had expected Trudeau to raise the question of the two Canadians detained by Beijing and charged with espionage.


Meng continues to be under house arrest.


Biden also said the leaders will work together to improve the stability and sustainability of the supply chain and to foster a robust "economic recovery that benefits everyone, not just those at the top." post-pandemic.


(This story was not edited by employees except for the headline and is published from a syndicated feed.)




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