WASHINGTON, June 8 (AP) — President Joe Biden welcomed British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for wide-ranging talks on Thursday, as the British leader makes his first visit to the White House as prime minister.
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.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 15 months ago would be “top priority”.
The United States and Britain are the two largest donors to Ukraine’s war effort and play central roles in a long-running effort announced last month to train and eventually equip Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets.
Rishi also wants to make the case to Biden for British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to succeed outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who ends leading the 31-member bloc in September. Alliance tenure.
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 two leaders will examine a range of global issues, including our economic partnership or joint support for Ukraine’s war of aggression against Russia, and further actions to accelerate the transition to clean energy,” Jean-Pierre said.
“The president and prime minister will also discuss joint US-UK leadership on key emerging technologies and our work to strengthen economic security.”
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.
Biden pointed to Sunak’s ascension as a “semiconducting milestone” at a White House event in October celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, Britain’s first leader of color and the first to hold the post. Hindus of the post. 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 California home.”
The lighthearted side has revived old political baggage for Sunak, whose political aspirations dimmed last year when he faced an ethics inquiry after being 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.
Sunak kicked off his two-day trip to Washington on Wednesday by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. He met with key congressional leaders, including Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as well as business leaders. He also attended a Washington Nationals baseball game.
Shortly before heading to Washington, Sunak announced a $17bn (£14bn) new economy investment in the UK by several US companies
Congressional-Executive Committee Chair on China, Republican Rep. Chris Smith and Democratic Senator.
Jeff Merkley wrote to Sunak on Wednesday asking him to work with the Biden administration on Hong Kong policy and push for the release of jailed media mogul Jimmy Lai and other activists .
Lai’s son, Sebastian Lai, testified before the U.S. committee last month that he was disappointed that Britain had not publicly condemned his father’s detention and had not taken a stronger stance arguing for his release.
Jimmy Lai founded the now-defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and faces charges under Hong Kong’s national security law and colonial-era sedition laws.
“Given your scrutiny of the Sino-British Declaration and the millions of Hong Kongers who hold British Citizen or British National (Overseas) passports, the UK government’s strong stance is critical,” the lawmakers wrote.
“The erosion of Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and the undermining of press freedom and the rule of law are issues of global concern.” (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)