Biden, Johnson meet amid Trump gaffe
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson have come face-to-face for the first time since the US President was elected as world leaders gather for the G7 Summit in England.
The pair met to discuss global health, climate change, transatlantic travel and to sign the new "Atlantic Charter" aimed at renewing the relationship between the US and UK for a "more peaceful and prosperous future" on Thursday local time.
"Prime Minister Johnson and I had a very productive meeting," Mr Biden said in a press conference.
"We discussed a broad range of issues … we affirmed the special relationship between our people."
The leaders' relationship is under the microscope during Mr Biden's eight-day foreign trip with past tensions between the pair still lingering.
Mr Biden previously described the British Prime Minister as a "physical and emotional clone" of Donald Trump - who was a staunch supporter of Mr Johnson.
Prior to that, Mr Johnson called Mr Biden's former boss, President Barack Obama, "half-Kenyan" and accused him of having an ancestral dislike of Britain.
On the surface, it appeared the leaders let bygones be bygones - at least momentarily - during their bilateral meeting in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, which followed a walk along a beach with their wives, Dr Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson.
"I've been to this great country many times, but this is my first time as President of the United States," Mr Biden told Mr Johnson before talks moved behind closed doors.
Mr Biden and Mr Johnson share common ground on issues including climate change and support for international institutions but diverge on policy relating to Brexit and Northern Ireland's role as part of Britain's exit from the European Union. The Northern Ireland Protocol - part of the Brexit deal that creates a de facto trade border in the Irish Sea - has contributed to rising tensions in the region this year. The president staunchly opposed the Brexit movement - which Johnson championed - and has expressed concern over the future of Northern Ireland.
Mr Biden, who has ancestral roots in Ireland, has warned that the Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, must not jeopardised by disagreements over trade. Mr Mr Johnson has been frustrated by lacklustre new trade deal negotiations with the US.
But following the pair's Thursday meeting, Mr Johnson said in a pool clip that he and the US President were in "complete harmony" over the need to uphold the Good Friday Agreement - which was signed in 1998 to restore self-government to Northern Ireland.
Mr Johnson denied rumours that Mr Biden had pressured him over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol, adding that the US, UK and European Union "have one thing we absolutely all want to do, and that is to uphold the Good Friday, the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process going."
"And that's absolute common ground. And, you know, I'm optimistic that we can do that," he added.
The G7 Summit, which starts on Friday local time, will mark the first-time world leaders have come together in person since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The rollout of the coronavirus vaccination program and climate change are high on the agenda.
As part of his first overseas trip as president, Mr Biden is also scheduled to meet with Queen Elizabeth. He will also address US-Russia diplomatic tensions with President Vladimir Putin when the leaders meet next week.
According to Mr Biden, more details regarding the scope of the commitment will be released during the summit.
Originally published as Biden, Johnson meet amid Trump gaffe