Biden to discuss Covid-19 pandemic, economy and China in G-7 meeting

US President Joe Biden has signalled a desire to work with allies in confronting China on a host of thorny issues. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Joe Biden will hold his first event with leaders from the Group of Seven (G-7) nations in a virtual meeting on Friday (Feb 19) to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the world economy and dealing with China as a group, the White House said on Sunday.

The meeting is the first by top leaders from the G-7 group of rich democracies since April, it said.

"This virtual engagement with leaders of the world's leading democratic market economies will provide an opportunity for President Biden to discuss plans to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, and rebuild the global economy," the White House said in a statement.

The White House said Mr Biden would focus his remarks on a global response to Covid-19 vaccine production and distribution as well as "continued efforts to mobilise and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing."

Mr Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican former President Donald Trump on Jan 20, has sought to project a message of re-engagement with the world and with global institutions after four years of his predecessor's "America First" mantra.

Mr Trump withdrew the United States from the World Health Organisation and the Paris climate accord and largely scoffed at multilateral organisations and groups.

Mr Biden brought the United States back into the WHO and rejoined the Paris accord and has signalled a desire to work with allies in confronting China on a host of thorny issues.

"President Biden will also discuss the need to make investments to strengthen our collective competitiveness and the importance of updating global rules to tackle economic challenges such as those posed by China," the White House said.

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