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President Biden flew to Brussels for the NATO summit after wrapping up the G-7 in the UK. At a news conference Sunday, he talked about the G-7’s plan to donate a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally and an agreement amongst the nations to hold China accountable for human rights violations and some trade practices. NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, who is traveling with the president, joins for more.
NewsHour White House Correspondent and Washington Week Moderator Yamiche Alcindor is travelling with the president and joined us from Brussels.
So Yamiche the G7 did put out a communique and yesterday you and I spoke about how the president was interested in getting strong language against China in there. Did he get what he wanted?
Well, there was this 25-page communique, and that is a stark difference from what happened when former President Trump came to the G7 in 2018. He famously left early, would not agree to a statement. So we just the idea that this is kind of back to the standard G7 is something that we need to note.
Other thing to note is that President Biden in a press conference later said that he was, quote, satisfied with the language on China passed communiqué, did not mention China by name, from my understanding. And this time around, you have China being called out for using forced labor, also for using issues and efforts that were not market friendly here and traditional here.
The other thing to note is that President Biden was really part of a group of of leaders here who wanted to see China called out by name. So this is I think in some ways shows that President Obama got a bit of what he wanted.
And the other thing is that the communique talks about shared values. It talks about democracy. It talks about the need to do as much as possible to try to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it comes to these seven wealthy nations doing as much as they can to nations that are struggling and who are needy,
There are quite a few climate activists that are disappointed in what's not in there.
That's right. So there that there was a failure to really set a goal for the way to end the use of coal around the world. So there is in some ways some real feeling that they did not go far enough on that. That is seen as a failure. It's right up there with the idea that you did get what he wanted on China but did not get what he wanted on climate change.
He had a press conference, his first one of this trip, a lot of questions about what's coming up with him and President Vladimir Putin. What did he say?
Well, this press conference led to a lot of talk about Russia from President Biden. He said that he looked forward to really bluntly and firmly talking to Vladimir Putin one-one-one.
President Putin has been out saying that he would be willing to give up some of these criminal gangs that have reportedly carried out these ransomware attacks. These hackers, if the US would exchange criminals that that did that, that really broke the law when it came to Russia. And President Biden surprisingly said, yes, I would be open to that.
The other thing to note, though, is that he said that there still needs to be a lot of human rights issues called out in Russia. But he also said that he wants to try to find some way to work together. He said Russia has a lot of its dilemmas, a lot of economic problems, a pandemic related problems. So you can tell that he still wants to have that strong force with Russia. But also it's really open to trying to have some sort of communication that might benefit the American people.
When President Trump went to this and when he attended NATO, his interests were in NATO footing more of the bill. President Biden is not that different, and he also wants NATO to participate more, but what's different about how they carry themselves?
Almost every American president has come to NATO and said more of these countries need to spend more on defense. So when President Obama, former President Obama went to NATO in 2014, there was an agreement to spend a certain percentage of the country's GDP on defense. And as a result, you had President Trump really coming back and wanting to push for that.
Experts told me that actually hurt and that you saw some European countries actually go less than two percent, drop their defense because they didn't want to be seen as doing President Trump's bidding. Another big thing that's going to happen and NATO is going to be talking a lot about the state of democracy, January 6th is really seen as a security risk, not just to the United States, but around the world. So there's going be a lot of talk about defense and the idea that democracies need to learn and need to show that they're that they're functioning as a way to really push off autocracies. You hear the President Biden saying that a lot of democracies versus autocracies, he's saying that's going to be the defining thing of our generation, of the generations to come.
You know, in the conversations with Vladimir Putin. I'm assuming that the cyber hacks and the ransomware attacks are going to come in. But this is a large area that I'm assuming President Biden is also going to be dealing with, along with NATO and the European leaders.
That's right. Cybersecurity and emerging technologies is a big, big focus. Of course, there was the military aspect of that that came together when you had NATO and after World War Two. But now the battle is really a cyber battle. And you saw we saw recently with the US infrastructure being disrupted by ransomware attacks when it comes to meat producing and gas lines. So there is real issues about the success that that these hackers have had.
And I think there's now this talk. President Biden might even be pushed to issue a sort of ultimatum to the Russian President. The president hasn't agreed to that. But you're hearing Democrats and Republicans saying they really want President Biden to get into that meeting with the Russian President and to talk to when he's talking to NATO and say we're going to take a hard line on these ransomware attacks.
And finally, on a lighter note, it's usually tradition for the President or the dignitaries to visit the queen. So the President, the First Lady visited any news on what happened there?
And from what we can understand, this was a sort of traditional visit. There was no purse snatching of the queen. There was nothing that seemed cringe worthy as of yet. We've seen some other cringe worthy things. There was one from former President Trump met the queen. He was criticized for turning his back on the queen at one point. From what we can tell, that's a sort of a traditional meeting. The White House says that President Biden last had a meeting with the queen in November of 1982. So this actually wasn't his first time meeting the queen. But it seems as though everything went smoothly as of now,
NewsHour's White House correspondent and moderator of Washington Week and Yamiche Alcindor joining us from the U.K. Thanks so much.
Thanks so much, Hari.
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