Days after Joe Biden’s first presidential trip abroad, Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns to Europe on Tuesday to continue trying to build Western unity against a rising China.
The head of US diplomacy will travel to Berlin, Paris and Rome to meet with two main leaders of the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as with the highest officials of the Vatican and participate in the Libyan peace talks.
Blinken will close his trip with a meeting on June 29 in the Italian city of Matera of the Group of 20 major economies, which will bring him face to face with his counterpart from China, the powerhouse the United States has identified as its main rival.
On his own tour, Biden had proposed to the Western democracies of the Group of Seven a vast infrastructure plan to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative and led a NATO summit to address the case of the Asian country more explicitly than ever.
“This trip is a continuation of President Biden’s priority of rebuilding relations with our allies,” said Phil Reeker, America’s top diplomat for Europe.
“The strength of these relationships will lay the foundation for many of the foreign policy priorities, including economic recovery as we emerge from the covid pandemic and oppose the People’s Republic of China and authoritarianism in general around the world,” he told the press.
– Repairing cracks –
Most European countries have welcomed Biden’s enthusiasm for alliances after the turbulent presidency of Donald Trump, who criticized friendly nations for what he called unfair business practices and insufficient contributions to common defense.
Biden has moved quickly to ease tensions with Europe, reversing Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Germany and resolving a long-standing dispute with Europe over aircraft subsidies.
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