The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom
President Biden. Well, good afternoon. Please have a—please be seated.
I'd like to start, with the permission of my British friends, to just say a few words about the wildfires in Canada and the quality of the air here in the East Coast that's blanketed the communities in the East Coast and the smoke this past few days.
I just put out a more detailed statement, so—for the press and for the people to see. But I spoke yesterday with Prime Minister Trudeau, and I've decided—I dictated a National Interagency Fire Center response to Canada's request for additional firefighters and the fire suppression assets, such as airtankers.
We already have 600 American firefighters on the ground that have been there for a while in Canada, including Hotshots and the Smokejumper crews.
And it's very important that affected communities listen to the guidance of their State and local officials from this point forward. To keep up to date on the air quality in real time, go to the app that we provided. It's called airnow.gov. And check on one another.
And by the way, what you'll get is something that looks like this——
[At this point, the President held up a graphic.]
——with a calibrated piece that says when the air is clean and when the air is dangerous and hazardous. And it dictates what—will tell you the air quality in your—in the neighborhood.
Now, it's my honor—my honor to welcome Prime Minister Sunak to the White House.
Rishi, we've—you're probably tired of meeting. We met in March in—[laughter]—in San Diego to discuss AUKUS and—with the Prime Minister of Australia. In April, we were there for the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast. We met and discussed again today the need to get the Stormont institution in Northern Ireland up and running.
Last month, together with our G-7 partners in Hiroshima, we drove progress on everything from our shared support for the brave people of Ukraine to the common principles of engaging with China.
Today, in Washington, we have had important and positive discussions to deepen our bilateral economic relationship and expand our cooperation to shape the challenges and future for this—remainder of this century.
It's a testament to the depth, breadth, and, I would argue, the intensity of our cooperation and coordination, which has existed—continues to exist between the United Kingdom and the United States. There's no issue of global—of importance, none, that—where our nations are not leading together and where we're not sharing our common values to make things better.
In our conversations today, we continued to build on all that we've achieved over these past months. We discussed how we can continue to adapt and upgrade our partnership to ensure our countries remain at the cutting edge of a rapidly changing world.
Our economic partnership is an enormous strength and source of strength that anchors everything that we do together. And we want to harness that power to make sure we're creating good jobs and supporting working class families in both our countries and that growth is shared broadly and no one gets left behind.
So today we're releasing a new plan to equip our economic partnership for the 21st century. It outlines how we can enhance our cooperation to accelerate the clean energy transition that must take place and is taking place, lead the development of—on—of emerging technologies that are going to shape so much of our future, and protect technologies critical to our national security.
And a key piece of that is working together to strengthen our critical mineral supply chains and to make them more resilient so we're not dependent on any one country to meet our goals.
When it came—when it comes to technology that will shape the future—like semiconductors, quantum computing, artificial intelligence—the U.K. and the U.S. are working together to make sure they are developed safely and responsibly and jointly.
We're going to do more on joint research and development to ensure the future we're building remains fundamentally aligned with our value set in both our countries.
And we're doing more to prevent technologies that are invented and developed in our countries from being used for military or intelligence purposes by countries that do not share our values.
Today we're—also discussed our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine and defend—who are defending themselves against the most brutal aggression we've seen in a long time, at the hands of Russia and Putin.
The U.K. and the United States, together with more than 50 partners, have committed historic levels of security assistance to Ukraine. And I want to thank the Prime Minister for his strong, strong leadership, contributing significant amounts of security assistance and training Ukrainian troops so they can effectively use the equipment and ammunition we've collectively provided them, and in bringing the world together later this month to drive support for Ukraine's long-term economic recovery.
You're doing a great deal.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you for making the journey to Washington.
Earlier this week, we marked the 79th anniversary of D-Day, and—a timely reminder of the proud history of—our nations share and the values—the values—that we have long stood together to defend.
That's the unshakable foundation of this special relationship. And it is a special relationship. There's no country closer to us than Great Britain.
Today, as NATO allies, partners in innovation, as friends in a shared vision of the future, and the two nations—our two nations are ready to meet the challenges of our time and meet them together. And I'm confident the United Kingdom and the United States will continue to lead the world toward greater peace, prosperity, and security for all.
So thank you again, Mr. Prime Minister. And the floor is yours.
Prime Minister Sunak. Thank you, Mr. President. And before I begin my remarks, a word, if I may, on what happened in France this morning.
All our thoughts are with those affected by this unfathomable attack, including a British child, and with their families. I've been in touch with President Macron. We stand ready to offer any assistance that we can.
Mr. President, Joe, it is an honor to be here at the White House, and thank you for your very warm welcome.
Not for decades has the relationship between our two nations been so important. The values we share, our belief in freedom, democracy, and the rule of law have never changed. They never will.
But what has changed are the challenges that we face. And standing here together, as our predecessors have done for generations, I feel confident that through the strength of our relationship, we can shape the world once again in our pursuit of liberty, prosperity, and the possibilities of a new age.
And that begins with our highest priority: national security. Last time I was here in the U.S., we signed AUKUS, the most significant defense partnership in generations, because we recognize that the security of the Atlantic and Pacific regions are indivisible.
And just a fortnight ago, in Hiroshima, President Biden and I stood with President Zelenskyy and our G-7 allies in a powerful display of unity. The U.K. is proud of our contribution, including providing tanks, long-range weapons, and training Ukrainian soldiers.
But let no one doubt U.S. leadership and resources are the decisive contribution allowing the forces of democracy and freedom to prevail. As I said in Congress, and I say again now to President Biden and to the American people: Thank you.
And just as we collaborate to protect our national security, so must we increasingly do the same to protect our economic security on which our prosperity depends.
Countries like China and Russia are willing to manipulate and exploit our openness, steal our intellectual property, use technology for authoritarian ends, or withdraw crucial resources like energy. They will not succeed.
Today we have agreed the Atlantic Declaration, a new economic partnership for a new age, of a kind that has never been agreed before. Yes, a partnership that protects our citizens, but more than that, a test case for the kind of reimagined alliances President Biden has spoken so eloquently about.
And that means new investment. This week alone, £14 billion of new American investment has been committed into the U.K., creating thousands of jobs. It means stronger supply chains with a new action plan on clean energy. And it means reducing trade barriers in the technologies of the future with a new secure U.K.-U.S. data bridge, helping tens of thousands of small businesses. An agreement to work towards mutual recognition of more professional qualifications in areas like engineering.
And we're launching negotiations on a new critical minerals agreement. Once concluded, this will give U.K. companies stronger access to the U.S. market.
And we're building on our extraordinary shared strengths in cutting-edge future technologies, with joint research collaborations in areas like quantum, semiconductors, and AI.
Now, our job as leaders is to ensure that this technological revolution makes us more secure and not less. Last week, the pioneers of artificial intelligence warned us about the scale of the challenge, as well as the opportunity. The U.S. and the U.K. are the world's foremost democratic AI powers. So today President and I agreed to work together on AI safety, including multilaterally.
Now, the U.K. looks forward to hosting the first global summit on AI safety later this year so that we can seize the extraordinary possibilities of this new technological age and do so with confidence. And we are well placed to do so.
I know some people have wondered what kind of partner Britain would be after we left the EU. I'd say: Judge us by our actions. We're committed to our values as ever, as reliable an ally as ever, as attractive an investment destination as ever.
But we're changing too. We're strengthening our relationships, not just with old friends like America or in Europe, but with new friends in the Indo-Pacific too. And we now have the freedom to regulate the new technologies that will shape our economic future, like AI, more quickly and flexibly. That is the future that we are creating in Britain: confident, proud, and free.
And let me close with a personal reflection. As Joe mentioned, he and I have seen quite a lot of each other in recent months. I gather our wives have even started to take spin classes together. [Laughter] And we were talking earlier about our hometowns. Joe is very rightly proud of Scranton. And I was telling him a little bit about Southampton, in England, where I'm from.
Now, not everyone knows this, but it was in a church in Southampton, where in the days before he set sail for these shores, that John Winthrop first spoke about his dream of building "a city on a hill." And that reminds us that the relationship between our two nations is unlike any other. Our alliance is so strong because it is not abstract. It is rooted in our people. And it's never been about our history alone, but about our ability to grasp the future.
We share the same beliefs, pursue the same purpose, and act according to the same ideals. And that's why today, as we meet the challenges of our time, we can depend on each other with absolute conviction.
When the United States and the United Kingdom stand together, the world is a safer, better, and more prosperous place. And that's why ours is the indispensable alliance.
President Biden. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
All right. First question goes to James [James Politi] of the Financial Times. Unless he left.
U.S. Assistance to Ukraine/International Assistance
Q. Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate the question. With—you spoke about your unwavering support for the people of Ukraine. So much of that depends on funding from the U.S. Congress. And now with the counteroffensive underway, when do you expect to return to Congress and ask for new funding? And how much do you expect you will need? And do you think that Speaker McCarthy will agree to it, given some skeptical comments that we heard earlier this week?
President Biden. No, not sure, and yes. [Laughter]
Q. And to Prime Minister Sunak, you spoke earlier this week about the importance of finding long-term security arrangements and agreements for the defense of Ukraine for many years ahead. Do you think that—have you found a common position with President Biden on that issue? What's your preferred model for a long-term security agreement with respect to Ukraine? And does it need to be sorted out before the Vilnius summit?
President Biden. Let me begin by answering your question. First of all, the Ukrainians should speak to the military operations; I won't do that from here. We've done everything we could collectively, but individually in the United States, to make them ready, to support that it will—that it's going to continue, and an evolving situation that we're—where we're very optimistic.
In talks with the Ukraine—and Ukrainians and particularly with Zelenskyy and our allies and partners, on commitments to Ukraine, long-term security—long-term security to deter future aggression after this war ends is the goal. And we're advancing this goal by providing them the support Ukraine needs now on the battlefield and helping them strengthen their military over the long term.
The fact of the matter is that I believe we'll have the funding necessary to support Ukraine as long as it takes. And I believe that we're going to—that that support will be real, even though there are—you hear some voices today on Capitol Hill about whether or not we should continue to support Ukraine and for how long we should support them.
The fact of the matter is, I ask people to picture what would happen if we were not supporting Ukraine. Do we think Russia would stop in Kyiv? Do you think that's all there would be happening? I think not, and I think the vast majority of my colleagues, even the critics, think that would not be the case as well.
There's much more to say about Ukraine, but I hope that answers your direct question.
Prime Minister Sunak. James, thank you for the question. If I might actually touch on your first question first.
And so it's actually entirely reasonable for the American people to hear what I say and, hopefully, acknowledge the thanks that we have for their support of the situation in Ukraine, but also ask if everyone is doing their bit. And that's why, as I said, the U.K. is proud to be, behind the U.S., the biggest contributor to the military effort in Ukraine.
And I think it's right that other countries also step up and do their part. We're lucky to have America's investment in European security, but we need to share the burden alongside you, which is why defense spending in the U.K. has—was—been above the 2 percent NATO benchmark. It's on an increasing trajectory, and we would encourage other countries to follow the lead that the U.S. and the U.K. set, because our security is collective.
I think the other thing for you to know about us as an ally is, we also view security as indivisible between the Euro-Atlantic region and the Pacific. That's why the AUKUS partnership is so important. That's why we're strengthening our engagement and alliances in that region too so that the U.S. can count on the U.K. as a partner and an ally, sharing the burden, but also working together in every sphere that it matters.
And on your latter question, I agree with what the President said: It's about deterrence. President Putin will be thinking that he can wait us out, that the alliance will tire, we'll get fatigued, and we'll give up.
Now, that is not the case. And the more we can put in place support for Ukraine—not just in the here and now, but support that will last for a time and for years to come—I think it sends a strong signal to him that there is no point in trying to wait us out. We're not going anywhere. We will be here for as long as it takes. And hopefully, that will speed up the calculation in his mind that he should withdraw his forces and stop what is an illegal and unprovoked act of aggression.
President Biden. Also, if you don't mind my making an addendum, I'd point out that not only do we have Europe responding—I spent a lot of time in Japan—the Japanese have stepped up. They've stepped up in terms of their budget. They've stepped up in terms of their involvement. They've stepped in—stepped up in terms of their support for Ukraine, realizing that an advance—a glaring invasion, with no pretext by anything other than conquering land, occurring in the 21st century is a danger not only in Europe but everywhere in the world.
The next question from the PBS NewsHour. Laura.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights
Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
President Biden. I think you're going to steal the mike. That's why they're——
Q. [Laughter] Yes, they're holding on to it.
Laura Barrón-López with the PBS NewsHour. All over the country, Mr. President, Republican-led States are passing laws—passing anti-LGBTQ, antitransgender laws that restrict rights and medical care. Intimidation is on the rise. This week, anti-LGBTQ protesters turned violent in California.
And also, recently, I spoke to the parents of a transgender girl in Texas who told me that they're afraid and that they are considering leaving not just their State, but the country.
Sir, why do you think this is happening? And what do you say to parents, like the ones that I spoke to, to those families who are contemplating leaving the country because they don't feel safe anymore?
And then, Prime—Prime Minister Sunak, thank you. You mentioned that AI has been a key part of your visit. What are the U.S. and the U.K.—what is the U.K. doing with the U.S. to protect elections and democracy from AI-generated disinformation campaigns waged at scale by foreign actors?
And you also mentioned the warning letter sent by AI leaders about the potential threat that this technology, if misused, can pose to humanity. How is regulating artificial intelligence going to be any different than what has been done at the global scale, so far, to deal with climate change, another existential threat?
President Biden. Let me answer your first question. First of all, maybe quietly, when we finish this, you can give me the number of that family, and I will call them and let them know that the President and this administration has their back. And I mean that.
Look, as President, I was proud to end the ban on transgender troops in our military, sign the Respect for Marriage Act, strengthen the civil rights protections for LBGT Americans, and advance LGBT human rights around the globe.
But our fight is far, far from over because we have some hysterical and, I would argue, prejudiced people who are engaged in all of what you see going on around the country. It's an appeal to fear, and it's an appeal that is totally, thoroughly unjustified and ugly.
It's wrong for—that a person can be married in the morning in the United States and fired in the afternoon by their employer because they are—they're gay. It's wrong that the violence and hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people is rising. It's wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills targeting transgender children, terrifying families, and criminalizing doctors.
These are our kids. These are our neighbors. It's cruel and it's callous. Not somebody else's kids; they're all our kids. They're the kids—and our children are the kite strings that hold our national ambitions aloft. It matters a great deal how we treat everyone in this country.
And the fact is that I'm announcing today a series of new initiatives that we're taking to protect the LGBT community. I was going to do this at the fore out on South Lawn. We're having Pride Day, but we're going to have to postpone it because of the climate, because of the weather and the pollution out there because of the fires.
But number one, we're going to strengthen the physical safety, dedicated resources, the Federal coordination to better protect Pride celebrations, marches, community centers, health care providers, and small businesses.
Secondly, we're addressing civil rights violations, a new coordinator to protect LGBT students from book bans, which make it harder for kids to learn and may violate their civil rights at the same time.
We're also engaging in mental health and other supports, more mental health resources and funding to help families support their kids, new efforts to protect LGBTQ kids in foster care, and steps to end—the absolute end of LGBTQ homelessness.
Congress has to pass—and I'm not giving up on this. Just like they told me we couldn't get Marriage Act passed. Congress must pass—must pass—the Equality Act and send it to my desk.
LGBTQ Americans, especially children: You're loved, you're heard, and this administration has your back, and I mean it. We are not relenting one single second to make sure that they're protected.
Prime Minister Sunak. Laura, the—on your question, it's clear that AI can bring incredible and will bring incredible benefits to society, our economies, to all of us. And actually, one of your leading venture capitalists just published an essay on this, which made the point very eloquently yesterday.
And it's also clear, though, that it does pose very real risks that we, as leaders, need to be cognizant of and put in place the guardrails to mitigate against.
Actually, President Biden and I had a very good conversation on this just a couple of weeks ago in Japan in one of our sessions in Hiroshima. And we are aligned in wanting to discuss with other countries what those guardrails should be.
I think here in the U.S., you've convened all the companies together recently; we've done the same in Downing Street just a couple of weeks ago. And I think there are a series of measures that we can implement working cooperatively, as we have been discussing, that will ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this technology whilst mitigating against their risks. And that's what our citizens would expect.
And you talk about climate change. You know, we come together at COP to work multilaterally across multiple countries to bring down carbon emissions, to get funding to the countries that need it, to share research on how we can develop the green technologies of the future. Indeed, that's part of our conversations and agreement today.
And we need to bring that same spirit of urgency, I think, to the challenges and opportunities that AI poses, because the pace of the technological change is faster than people had anticipated. And I think the letter that you mentioned kind of reminded us that we do need to work urgently to address this issue. And I'm delighted that Joe and I and others will be doing that with all great haste.
And I think a couple of questions on our end. Could I call on the BBC?
United Kingdom-U.S. Relations/China
Q. Thank you. Chris Mason from BBC News.
Prime Minister, your aim as the Conservative Party at the last general election was a full free trade deal with America. Isn't the simple truth of what's been announced today an acknowledgement of a failure to do that?
And to the President, why won't you do a full trade agreement with the U.K.? Thank you.
Prime Minister Sunak. Thanks. So if you look at what we've announced today, what it does is respond to the particular opportunities and challenges that we face right now and into the future. And it asked the question: What do we need to do, working together, that can bring most benefit to our citizens as quickly as possible? And our agreement does that. It's a first-of-a-kind agreement that's ambitious in what it seeks to achieve.
I think that I've structured around a couple of different areas. The first is economic security, because the challenges we face are much more economic in nature—it's a big subject of our discussions at the G-7 recently—and the only way we're going to meet those challenges is to work together to strengthen the resilience of our supply chains, to research the technologies of the future together.
And that's what we've announced today, is a partnership that will deepen our cooperation to strengthen the economic security. And that's good for all our citizens at home.
And those risks have intensified in the past couple of years. I think that's very evident. But it also seeks to build prosperity and create jobs in both of our countries.
We've announced billions of pounds of investment into the U.K., which is going to support thousands of jobs. And the agreement that we've struck today will continue to do that. It will support tens of thousands of small businesses in the U.K., removing unnecessary redtape so that they can trade and do business in the U.S. far easier.
And I think those types of specific, targeted measures that will deliver real benefits to people as quickly as possible are the right things for us to be focused on.
But I think be in no doubt, as Joe and I were discussing earlier, the economic relationship between our two countries has never been stronger. The trade is worth hundreds of billions of pounds, or dollars, a year. Over a million of our citizens in each other's countries work in each other's companies. We are one of the largest investors in each other's countries, and that trade is growing at something like 20 percent last year.
So the relationship is strong; it's booming. But our agreement today focuses on the particular challenges, opportunities of the moment we're in. And I think that's the right thing for us both to be focused on.
President Biden. I think we had a really good discussion today about our economic relationship. And we've launched negotiations on critical materials and an agreement to deal with climate crisis.
For example, there is no reason why Great Britain will not play a major role in not only critical materials, but in investing in the United States of America and all of our initiatives relating to the need for critical materials, including battery technology and a whole range of things. Number one.
Number two, cooperating on data and AI. It is in a limitless capacity and possibility. We—but we have to do it with great care, not relative to one another but relative to the issue. Because when I convened the leaders in AI about—I think there were 13—here in the United States, the very architects of this—AI—they're also very concerned about it getting out of hand, and we've got to make sure we're all on the same page.
And we're looking to Great Britain to lead that effort this fall in putting together a proposal—a group of nations to deal with how do we deal with this. It not only has the potential to cure cancer and many other things that are just beyond our comprehension, but it has the potential to do great damage if it's not controlled.
And so we—we're looking for—I'll overstate it: We're looking for watermarks on everything that has to do with—"produced by AI" so we know from whence it comes. But there's a lot we have to do.
And we're also addressing the national security risk posed by certain types of outbound investments. I had a discussion with Xi Jinping in China: Why was I not transferring certain technological capabilities? And I said, very simply, "Because you're using them for weapons of mass destruction and intelligence intervention." And I said, "If we can work out something on that, we'd have a very different relationship."
So what we're trying to do is figure out how together we can make sure that we have the—let me back up and say it this way: I don't think ever in the history of human endeavor has there been as fundamental potential technological change as is presented by artificial intelligence. It is staggering. It is staggering.
You have some of these leaders in the industry talking about how they're concerned whether a machine will be able to begin to think for itself, not need to be programmed. I mean, it's just—I know it sounds like science fiction, but it is close to science fiction, some of the things. It has enormous potential.
And we're looking to Great Britain to help lead that effort, to figure out a way through this. So we're in full—total cooperation, because there's no one, no country we have greater faith in being able to negotiate this—no—not negotiate with individuals, negotiate our way through this—than the Prime Minister. And so we are in lockstep.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Last question.
Prime Minister Sunak. Thank you. Last question is the Times.
North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO)/United Kingdom-U.S. Relations/National Economy
Q. Thank you. Chris Smyth from the Times. Prime Minister, you've made clear your support for free trade, but is today's agreement essentially a recognition that in light of COVID, the growing threat of China, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, that the era of unfettered globalization is over? And if so, the U.S. has made clear that it thinks that requires a much more interventionist industrial policy to respond to that. Why do you think that approach is wrong for the U.K.?
And, Mr. President, what do you say to those abroad who say that your new "Washington consensus" is simply a fancier way of saying "America first"? And in light of the warm words just now about U.K.-U.S. defense collaboration, particularly in Ukraine, do you think it's time for the first British NATO Secretary General in two decades?
President Biden. What's the last part of your question? I'm sorry.
Q. Is it time for a British NATO Secretary General?
President Biden. Maybe. That remains to be seen. We're going to have to get a consensus within NATO to see that happen. They have a candidate who's a very qualified individual. But we're going to have—we have a lot of discussion, not between us, but in NATO, to determine what the outcome of that will be.
And with regard to the first part of your question you wanted me to respond to?
Q. It was about: Is the new "Washington consensus" that you and your National Security Adviser set out simply another way of saying "America first," which some overseas think it is?
President Biden. Well, look, my economic policy is totally consistent with what I think is in the interest of our NATO allies and our allies around the world.
One of the things that I decided to do—and I find that the Wall Street Journal—and I'm sure there is someone here from the Wall Street Journal and other publications that are talking about Bidenomics. I didn't realize it was—I had Bidenomics going.
But the bottom line was this: that the fundamental changes taking place in terms of international trade, nobody in—at least very few people in United States, and I suspect around the world, knew what a supply chain meant, what they're talking about, the supply chain.
When we found out during the pandemic that the reason why we couldn't build automobiles was because the outfit that we got our semiconductors from in Southeast Asia had shut down because of the pandemic, we realized that—I decided that no longer would we rely on one center of support for any of the things that are needed for our economic growth.
And I made it clear to all our NATO allies and our partners as well that although we were going to generate a—for example, an AI capacity here—I mean, excuse me, a semiconductor capacity here in the United States, attracting literally several hundred billion dollars in investment, that that was available to all of our allies, all of our friends. And they're investing as they—as we are and benefiting in a similar way.
The bottom line here for me is that I think that the world is changing in a way that globalization is still real. But the measure of what we used to call in the United States trickle-down economics, where if the—if the trickle-down economics resulted in both—in Democratic and Republican administrations for generations—in making sure we found the cheapest labor in the world, sent the product to—sent the work to those—to that neighbor or those neighbors who have the cheapest labor, and they send back their products.
Well, I'm not doing that anymore. We're going to make sure that we, in fact, have a flip of that. We're sending capacity—here in the United States, we're attracting capacity to build here in the United States to send product overseas, not the reverse.
And I know it sounds simplistic, but it's working so far. And it's not going to hurt any of our allies or friends in terms of the trade piece of this. Matter of fact, I'm finding they're benefiting from it as well, because they're engaging in it with us. And at home, they're doing similar things.
So that's why we talked about the need to have relationships in terms of certain materials—the battery technologies—to share. We rely on Great Britain to produce a lot of that for us.
So it is increasing trade. But right now it looks like it is—because the United States is doing so incredibly well, it makes it looks like it's only the United States. It's not. It's just a change in direction in terms of how we view generating economic growth.
Prime Minister Sunak. And just to add to that, I'd say I'm absolutely of the view that the United States, this President does not believe in zero-sum competition amongst allies. That's what we declared together with our G-7 partners just a few weeks ago in Hiroshima. This is a President and an administration that is completely attuned to the needs and concerns of its allies on these issues. And you can see that.
Today, as the President said, we are launching negotiations between the U.K. and the U.S. on a critical minerals agreement so that the U.S. can provide us with that interaction and cooperation we need.
And the Atlantic Declaration that we've announced today just talks about strengthening, deepening our cooperation. It's not about looking in and being protection; it's about the exact opposite of that.
And it's about strengthening that cooperation across the full spectrum of economic, technological, and other spheres. And that's what you will see. You'll see that from the President. You'll see it from me. You'll see the U.K. and the U.S. working even more closely together on all the big economic issues of our time, because that's what the moment demands, and that's what our citizens need us to do. And that's what the President and I plan to deliver.
President Biden. And it's not just our citizens. Look, the Global South—there are going to be a billion people in Africa very shortly. One billion.
At the G-7, it was originally called Build Back Better World, but we were talking about—there's a new PPI [PGII; White House correction]—anyway—an industrial policy that we're all signed on to, to provide the countries in Africa and in the Global South an opportunity to grow, significantly grow, which benefits the United States, benefits Europe, benefits every country.
Because the reverse is true: If we don't figure a way in which these countries can grow and participate and have to—and be able to build infrastructure—you know, the Canadians—the—excuse me, the Chinese have a Belt and Road Initiative. Well, the Belt and Road Initiative turns out to be a debt and confiscation program. Not going very far.
But what we're doing—and we're going to be doing with our NATO allies, with the G-7—is providing opportunities. For example, Angola—I—should be in a position very soon to have the largest solar facility in the world, generating significant amounts of energy. It benefits us, benefits them, brings them into the 21st century in a way that they'd never been before.
We're talking about building—and I had my team putting together with other countries as well—to build a railroad from the Pacific Ocean—from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Indian Ocean. Never occurred before. How—we're—our Departments of Agriculture are working with these countries.
So there's a significant amount of cooperation, not to hoard capacity, but to expand capacity to further expand opportunity, because we all benefit from it.
And one thing I've learned is that we are not going to be able to deal with the global warming, which is a consequential—single most consequential threat to humanity if we don't do it, unless we engage more together, not fewer—not less together.
And so the United States will do what it can do well and invite all of our partners to be part of it if we can.
Prime Minister Sunak. Thank you.
Q. Mr. Prime Minister——
Q. Do you have a response to the bribery allegation against you?
Q. [Inaudible]—Justice Department, when Donald Trump——
Announcer. Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, please remain in your seats as the principals and official delegations depart the East Room.
President Biden. I'm supposed to walk off the stage now. [Laughter]
Bribery Allegations Against the President
Q. Can you comment on the bribery allegations against you, President Biden?
President Biden. But wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
Q. The bribery allegation. Congresswoman Nancy Mace says there's damning evidence in the FBI file that you sold out the country. Do you have a response to the congressional Republicans?
President Biden. Where's the money? [Laughter] I'm joking. It's——
Q. Mr. President, Mr. President——
President Biden. It's a bunch of malarkey.
Department of Justice
Q. Mr. President, what do you say to Americans to convince them that they should trust the independence and fairness of the Justice Department when your predecessor, Donald Trump, repeatedly attacks it?
President Biden. Because you notice I have never once—not one single time—suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do, relative to bringing a charge or not bringing a charge. I'm honest.
[Several reporters continued to ask questions.]
NOTE: The President spoke at 2:16 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia; President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia; President Xi Jinping of China; and Minister of Defense Ben Wallace of the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Sunak referred to his wife Akshata Murty. A reporter referred to U.S. National Security Adviser Jacob J. Sullivan.
Joseph R. Biden, The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/363153