Biden, Trudeau go online for US-Canada bilateral
WASHINGTON, Feb 23: President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will lay out a "roadmap" for rebuilding US-Canada relations Tuesday during their first bilateral meeting, a senior official said, although the scrapped Keystone pipeline could present a hurdle.
Following the turbulence of Donald Trump's presidency, Biden would have hoped to use his well-honed skills of personal connection while meeting face-to-face with the leader of the key ally to the north.
However, the meeting will occur virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the neighboring states to build on their common values from afar instead of in person, a senior US administration official told reporters on the eve of Biden's first bilateral event as president.
"I think the biggest deliverable from the trip, or from the meeting, is going to be essentially... a roadmap to reinvigorate US-Canada collaboration," the official said Monday.
Announcements on "next steps" will be made in multiple areas such as diplomacy, transportation or infrastructure, and battling Covid-19, the official said.
Biden and Trudeau will address several mutual priorities, including tackling climate change, revving up the North American economy, the Arctic, and threats to democracy in Myanmar and Venezuela.
But the sides will also wade into the thorny issue of China's "unfair economic practices," its human rights record and Beijing's continued detention of two Canadian nationals, according to the senior US official.
Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in China in 2018 in what was seen as likely retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou that year on a US warrant. -AFP