President Biden will speak virtually to the Group of Seven economic summit this week to discuss battling the coronavirus pandemic, coordinating the worldwide vaccine effort, rebuilding the global economy and countering China’s expanding influence, the White House said.
It will be the first meeting of the G7 nations since last April, and the first Biden has taken part in as president.
“This virtual engagement with leaders of the world’s leading democratic market economies will provide an opportunity for President Biden to discuss plans to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, and rebuild the global economy,” the White House said in a statement released on Sunday.
The focus of Biden’s comments Friday will be on vaccine production and distribution “as well as continued efforts to mobilize and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing.”
And the president, who has introduced a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package in Congress, will address a world economy weakened by the pandemic, focusing on the ”importance of all industrialized countries maintaining economic support for the recovery.”
As for China, which the Trump administration hit with tariffs over its unfair trade policies, Biden will “discuss the need to make investments to strengthen our collective competitiveness and the importance of updating global rules to tackle economic challenges such as those posed by China.”
The virtual meeting will be hosted by the United Kingdom, and will include the leaders of France, Germany, Canada, Japan and Italy.
Members of the European Union are also expected to attend.
Biden has already reversed course on former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, but British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is in agreement with the US that China must reveal key data about the early days of the pandemic that began in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan.
In an interview on CBS News “Face the Nation,” Johnson said he will lead a “global coordination in getting to the bottom” of the pandemic.
“We need to see the data. We need to see all the evidence,” Johnson said, echoing National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s call on Saturday demanding full transparency from China.