The United States is officially back as a world ally and ready to engage with its friends — that's the message President Joe Biden sent in his virtual address to the Munich Security Conference late Friday morning.
"America is back. I speak to you today as president of the United States at the very start of my administration, and I'm sending a clear message to the world — America is back," Mr. Biden said in what could be a summary of his speech.
The president said he wants to erase "any lingering doubt" that the U.S. will work alongside its European partners. He said the U.S. is also "fully committed" to the NATO alliance.
Without mentioning his predecessor by name, Mr. Biden sought to make a clear distinction between former President Trump and himself. Mr. Biden recognized that recent years have strained relations between the U.S. and her European allies. Mr. Trump's foreign policy approach sometimes meant freezing out and criticizing longtime allies, while praising dictators like Kim Jong Un.
Mr. Biden said the U.S. and European partners need to fight against China playing by different rules.
"Competition with China is going to be stiff. That's what I expect. And that's what I welcome," Mr. Biden said, adding the U.S. and European partners can "own the race of the future."
The president also spoke of Russia as an adversary, something that threatens the freedom of its people. That's why the U.S. must stand up for Ukraine, and stand against hacking and other Russian tools, he said.
"The challenges with Russia may be different than the ones with China, but they're just as real," Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden also spoke of Iran as a threat to the safety and prosperity of the Middle East. The goal, he added, is a future where all nations are free to determine their own path, with free citizens.
Earlier Friday, the president participated virtually in the G7meeting with world leaders and announced the U.S. would contribute $4 billion to COVAX, emphasizing the administration's stance that the coronavirus must be fought around the world.
The Biden administration is also officially reentering the Paris climate accords later Friday afternoon.