The White House announced that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Washington, D.C. on July 15 for President Joe Biden’s third, in-person bilateral meeting at the White House – a mini-summit that seeks to thaw relations after four years of Donald Trump’s “America first” approach.
Merkel’s visit follows on the heels of Biden’s one-on-one meetings at the executive mansion with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suge in April and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in May. Biden also met with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson in Carbis Bay, England Thursday ahead of this year’s G7 summit, where the two leaders unveiled the New Atlantic Charter and reaffirmed the “Special Relationship” between the United States and United Kingdom.
The meeting also comes shortly after Biden waived sanctions on German entities working on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline, despite some opposition from U.S. lawmakers.
“Chancellor Merkel’s visit will affirm the deep bilateral ties between the United States and Germany,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote in a Friday statement announcing Merkel’s trip. “The leaders will discuss their commitment to close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security based on our shared democratic values.”
Merkel, who former President Obama repeatedly called his closest European ally, had a much rockier relationship with Biden’s direct predecessor, former President Donald Trump. The pair frequently clashed over Germany’s defense commitments. Trump claimed Germany did not spend enough on its military to live up to its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) obligations. Their relationship was perhaps best characterized by a viral photo of Merkel confronting Trump at a 2018 G-7 meeting.
Merkel previously announced her intent to step down as chancellor before the end of the year.
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Original Author: Christian Datoc