President Biden is delivering remarks Friday alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a special meeting of global leaders focused on helping the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will gather virtually for a meeting hosted by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on ending the pandemic and supporting the global economic recovery.
Remarks are expected from all of the leaders.
In a statement ahead of his planned address, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden planned to “emphasize the importance he places on the region as well as his vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“He will provide an update to leaders on what the U.S. is doing to serve as an arsenal of vaccines for the region and to support all those suffering from COVID-19. He will also advance an economic agenda that promotes our shared prosperity, leverages the economic potential in the region, and builds inclusive and resilient economies,” she added.
The US commander-in-chief spoke by phone with Ardern early Friday morning, the White House said, discussing “our cooperation on and engagement with Pacific Island nations” and the president’s interest in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Not included in any statements or advisories from the White House are references to China’s role in the pandemic.
China, a nation that has faced a wave of international scrutiny over the past few years relating to its activities in dismantling democracy in Hong Kong, its mass internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province and its aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, has refused to accept responsibility for its negligence and lack of transparency at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition, China continues to use unfair trade practices and steal intellectual property, as it works to surpass the US as the world’s dominant superpower.
With Post wires