Washington / Toronto (Canada), Feb 23 (EFE) .- US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed on Tuesday to form a common front to accelerate the fight against the climate crisis, in addition to reinforcing cooperation and “solidarity” at the trilateral level, together with Mexico.
Biden dedicated his first bilateral meeting to Trudeau since he came to power in January, a meeting that had to be virtual due to the pandemic but which made clear the harmony between the two, after four years of tension under former US President Donald Trump. .
“Thank you for making such a great commitment to climate change. The leadership of the United States has been sorely missed in recent years,” Trudeau said as he began the meeting online.
A NEW STAGE
The two leaders, who already knew each other from when Biden was vice president between 2009 and 2017, wanted to mark their reunion with the announcement of a new “roadmap” to further strengthen the bilateral relationship in the coming years.
The most prominent piece of that roadmap is the upcoming launch of a high-level ministerial meeting on climate, designed to align the goals of both countries against the climate crisis and accelerate the implementation of their goals under the Paris Agreement.
“Canada and the United States will work hand in hand to make clear the seriousness of our commitments, at home and outside our borders,” said Biden.
In addition to coordinating their respective measures against global warming, Biden and Trudeau hope to “spur other countries to also raise their own ambitions” in this area, the US president explained.
Biden ordered the return to the Paris Agreement on his first day in power, on January 20, and has also promised that he will invest 1.7 trillion dollars in clean energy and will make the United States neutralize its greenhouse gas emissions. by 2050.
ALLIANCE AGAINST CHINA
The two leaders also spoke about China and Canada’s diplomatic conflict with the Asian giant since the Beijing authorities arrested two Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, at the end of 2019.
The arrest came in retaliation for the arrest in Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the United States, and the two Canadians have since been held in Chinese prisons under strict conditions.
Biden said that Canada and the United States will coordinate to better compete with China and counter threats to the interests and values of both countries.
“I reiterate our support for the release of the two Canadians detained in China, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Human beings are not bargaining chips. We are going to work together until we get them back safely, “continued the US president.
Trudeau thanked Biden’s support for the release of the two Michael, since during the Trump presidency he only got a timid endorsement from Washington on that issue.
FUTURE SUMMIT WITH LÓPEZ OBRADOR?
Speaking generally of the world situation, Trudeau pointed out that despite the “difficult times” the world is facing, his country is not alone because “Canada and the United States are the closest allies, the most important trading partners and the closest friends. ancient ”.
“And we are united to defeat this pandemic and build a better tomorrow and I know that our union will grow even stronger,” concluded the Canadian president.
Biden spoke in similar terms, assuring that “the United States has no closer friend than Canada” and highlighting the historical and geographical ties between the two countries.
Neither of them mentioned their other North American neighbor, Mexico, but the White House said in a statement that both had agreed to “work to revive the North American Leaders Summit,” which annually brought together the leaders of the three countries but it stopped being held under Trump.
Retaking that summit, to which the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, would also be invited, represents “a new commitment to solidarity between the United States, Canada and Mexico,” the note indicates.
DEFENSE AND ECONOMY
In the military field, the two countries undertook to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) and to reinforce the Atlantic axis with Europe, one of the pillars of the Western world since the end of the Second World War and which was weakened during the Trump’s presidency.
“The Prime Minister and I have discussed working with our European allies to advance transatlantic security, including meeting our Wales commitments,” Biden said, referring to the 2014 agreement that NATO members will spend 2% of its gross domestic product in defense, including 20% in new military equipment.
Neither Biden nor Trudeau specifically referred to the thorniest bilateral issue, the new president’s “Buy American” policy to favor US companies over foreign ones, including Canadians.
But Trudeau stressed the interrelatedness of the two economies, stating that “millions of families” depend on the partnership between the US and Canada, so the two countries have to work together economically.
Trudeau set the example that “Canadian energy workers power homes on both sides of the border, showing that we all depend on this partnership.”
Lucía Leal and Julio César Rivas
(c) EFE Agency