WASHINGTON, June 8 (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launched wide-ranging talks at the White House on Thursday, vowing they will work globally to adapt to rapid economic, political and technological change.
The Oval Office talks between the two leaders are expected to cover the war in Ukraine, China, economic security, international cooperation in regulating the growing field of artificial intelligence and more. Biden and Sunak have met face-to-face four times since Sunak became prime minister in October, but the meeting in Washington will offer the two leaders the most lasting opportunity to interact to date.
“We’re going to put our values first,” Biden said.
Sunak reflected on the key Oval Office conversations their respective predecessors had over the years and acknowledged that both he and Biden faced difficult moments of their own. The visit to Washington is Sunak’s first since becoming prime minister last October.
“Our economy is going through the biggest transformation since the Industrial Revolution, as new technologies offer incredible opportunities. But also give our adversaries more tools,” Sunak said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 15 months ago is expected to be at the top of the agenda. , and eventually equip Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
Sunak also wants to make the case to Biden for British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to succeed outgoing NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who ends leading the 31-member alliance in September. the tenure of the alliance. Stoltenberg is scheduled to meet Biden in Washington on Monday, and the leaders of the coalition are due to hold their annual summit in Lithuania on July 11-12.
“The United States and the United Kingdom stand with Ukraine,” Biden said at the start of the meeting.
Biden also recalled a White House meeting between Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, saying the two countries have worked together through some of the toughest moments in modern history.
“You know Prime Minister Churchill and Prime Minister Roosevelt met here more than 70 years ago and they asserted that the strength of the partnership between the United Kingdom and the United States is the strength of the free world,” Biden told Sunak. “I still think it’s factual to that assertion.”
Sunak is keen to make the UK a significant player in AI, and has announced his government will bring together politicians, scientists and tech executives for an AI safety summit in the autumn.
He said it was crucial to ensure that “paradigm-changing new technologies” were used for the benefit of humanity.
“No country can do this alone,” Sunak said on Wednesday. “This requires a global effort.”
Sunak’s visit comes as U.S. and British intelligence officials are still trying to hold accountable for the failure of a large dam in southern Ukraine, which caused floodwaters to flood towns and farmland. Neither Washington nor London formally blamed Russia for blowing up the Kakhovka dam.
Sunak said on Wednesday that British intelligence was still assessing the evidence, but “if it does prove deliberate, that would be a new low … The brutality of the Russian side is appalling.”
“Russia has had a deliberate and aggressive strategy of targeting civilian infrastructure throughout the war,” he told broadcaster ITV in Washington.
Both want to show that despite the recent political and economic turmoil in the UK, US-UK relations remain as strong as ever The impact on Northern Ireland is divided.
There were also some awkward moments between the two leaders in the early days.
At a White House celebration in October to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali, Biden noted Sunak’s ascension was a “semiconducting milestone” as Britain’s first leader of color and the first to hold the post. Hindus of duty. Messed up the pronunciation of Sunak’s name.
At a meeting in San Diego in March with Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, where Biden announced plans to sell Australia’s nuclear-powered attack submarines, Biden jokingly told Sunak “maybe you can invite me to your Home in California.” The lighthearted side has revived old political baggage for Sunak, whose political aspirations had dimmed last year when he faced an ethics inquiry after he was granted a US green card two years after being named chancellor. Sunak is a former hedge fund manager with an MBA from Stanford who owns a California estate with his wife.
Still, there is a feeling in the Biden administration that US-UK relations have regained their footing following Boris Johnson’s sometimes turbulent tenure and Liz Truss’ 45-day prime ministership.
“I think Sunak’s government has been very pragmatic, maintaining the UK’s strong commitment to Ukraine and increasing defense spending, which is somewhat of a relief, not just in the White House but across Washington,” he said. said Max Bergman, director of the Europe, Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Along with Sunak, he added, there was also “a bit of a return to pragmatism” on economic issues and post-Brexit relations with the EU.
Biden invited Sunak to stay at the Blair Palace, the official presidential residence in Lafayette Square. Before the U.S. government bought the Blair House in 1942, foreign leaders visiting the president often stayed at the White House.
In a lighthearted moment, the president began telling the story of how, in the days before Blair House, Churchill strolled to the president’s family residence in the early hours to wake a sleeping President Franklin D. Roosevelt to talk. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have cut Churchill off before he became president.
“Don’t worry,” Sunak interjected. “You’re not going to see me bothering you and the first lady.” (AP)
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