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Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet virtually

President Joe Biden held first his first bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, with the two leaders convening virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the virtual meeting, Mr. Biden and Trudeau made a statement expressing the commitment between the two nations. The two world leaders unveiled a "U.S.-Canada Partnership roadmap" detailing that commitment on issues like combatting COVID-19, tackling the climate crisis, bolstering continental defense and strengthening global alliances. 

During their meeting, Trudeau told Mr. Biden that "U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past year" — a not-so-cryptical nod to former President Trump's relationship with Canada and the western world. 

To boost alliances, the blueprint calls for a revival of the North American Leaders' Summit as a "recommitment of solidarity"  between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to the White House. The roadmap aims to "advance our shared vision of prosperity, diversity, equity and justice for all our citizens," the White House said.

Trudeau and Mr. Biden delivered televised statements on their partnership, but did not hold a traditional joint press conference. Mr. Biden has yet to hold a press conference as president. 

"We both recognize our responsibility as leading democracies to defend our shared values around the world, and to strengthen our own democracies at home," Mr. Biden said. "That means rooting out systemic racism and unconscious bias from our institutions and our laws as well as our hearts. Today, we agreed to reestablish the cross-border crime forum and work together to modernize our approach to community safety and to do the most we can — do more — to take on racism and discrimination in both our systems."

The president also spoke to the United States' commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the two countries' shared commitment to a strong defense. Mr. Biden said the United States is committed to the release of two Canadians detained in China. 

"Human beings are not bartering chips," the president said. 

Trudeau delivered his statement in both English and French, starting off with stating Canada's commitment to Texans in need. The Canadian prime minister expressed Canada's commitment to tackling COVID-19 and other crises. Trudeau said Canada and the U.S. are "each others' allies, most important trading partners, and oldest friends."

"The president and I discussed the ambitious new partnership roadmap based on shared values and priorities that will guide our countries' work together over the coming years. In the face of COVID-19, of climate change, of rising inequality, this is our moment to act. So we're not wasting any time in getting down to work," Trudeau said. 

Mr. Biden has vowed to rebuild America's alliances following four years of former President Donald Trump's "America First" foreign policy. The president participated Friday in a virtual meeting of the G7 and committed up to $4 billion to COVAX, an initiative backed by the World Health Organization that aims to ensure equitable access to vaccines worldwide.

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