Biden, Johnson target Russia, China with new Atlantic Charter ahead of G7

June 11, 2021
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, and US President Joe Biden are seen in this file combination picture. — Courtesy photo
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, and US President Joe Biden are seen in this file combination picture. — Courtesy photo

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden signed a pledge to defend the United Kingdom and America's "enduring values" 80 years since the Atlantic Charter was inked in 1941.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill signed the charter during World War II to set out their vision for the world after the conflict. It ultimately led to the setting up of NATO and the United Nations.

The document promised to counter “those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions" and singled out “interference through disinformation”, a charge that has been leveled at Moscow.

It also cited free trade, human rights, a rules-based international order, and stronger global defenses against health threats like COVID-19, ahead of the summit in Cornwall, UK.

Earlier, Biden and Johnson inspected the original documents related to the Atlantic Charter, which included goals of free trade, disarmament, and the right to self-determination of all people.

Johnson noted that the charter laid the foundation for the United Nations and NATO.

“Yeah, I know,” Biden replied.

'A breath of fresh air'

Britain's PM expressed optimism over Biden's leadership, asserting that talks with the US leader came as a "breath of fresh air.

"It's wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and Joe Biden because there's so much that they want to do together with us - on security, on Nato, to climate change," he said. "It's fantastic."

Biden said his meeting with Johnson was productive as he said the two men agreed on the importance of addressing "key challenges" including global health, climate change, and cyber security.

He also said the two world leaders "affirmed the special relationship" between the US and UK.

"That is not said lightly," he said, asserting that the pair renewed "the special relationship between our people" along with "our commitment to defending the enduring democratic values that both our nations share".

'Common ground' on Northern Ireland

Of course, Brexit and the future of Northern Ireland hung over Thursday's meeting, with Biden having warned that Ireland's 1998 Good Friday peace accord must not be put at risk.

Johnson appeared to downplay any friction on the matter, asserting said that protecting the Northern Ireland peace agreement was "absolutely common ground" among the UK, US, and European Union.

June 11, 2021
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