President Joe Biden will host Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom at the White House on Thursday. The two leaders will discuss various global issues during their meeting, according to the White House, including economic partnership, support for Ukraine, and clean energy transition.
The potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) and the question of who will take the helm of NATO this year are also expected to be on the agenda.
Ukraine and Russia will be the primary topics of discussion, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on June 7.
“The president and the prime minister will also discuss the joint U.S.-U.K. leadership on critical and emerging technologies, as well as our work to strengthen our economic security,” she added.
While the two leaders will focus on strengthening economic ties, there will be no mention of reviving post-Brexit trade talks during this meeting.
Earlier, a spokesperson for Number 10 stated that Sunak will not pursue a free trade agreement with the United States during his meeting with Biden, however, he will discuss a few existing trade barriers.
“As we’ve confirmed previously, we are not seeking to pursue a free trade deal with the U.S. currently. We know that no trade partnership is more important than one we have with the U.S., it’s our largest trading partner,” the spokesperson told reporters. “We are pursuing targeted trade outcomes to break down the few barriers that exist in U.K.-U.S. trade.”
This will be the president’s fourth meeting with Sunak this year. Both leaders met in May at the G-7 summit in Hiroshima; in April in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and in March in San Diego for the trilateral security pact known as AUKUS.
“They will also review developments in Northern Ireland as part of their shared commitment to preserving the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement,” Jean-Pierre said.
UK Seeks AI Leadership
The British prime minister will also use his trip to Washington to advocate for the U.K. to become the global center for artificial intelligence regulation, according to The Guardian.
The U.K. government announced on June 7 that it would host the first major global summit on AI safety in the autumn. The summit aims to explore the risks of artificial intelligence, including frontier systems, and how they might be mitigated by internationally coordinated action.
Sunak hopes that Biden will agree to the U.S. participation in the summit.
The prime minister was enthusiastic about the U.K.’s pursuit of a key role in this new technology, telling reporters on the plane to Washington that Britain “is the only country other than the U.S. that has brought together the three leading companies with large language models.”
“You would be hard-pressed to find many other countries other than the U.S. in the Western world with more expertise and talent in AI. We are the natural place to lead the conversation.”
Sunak wants Britain to host an AI watchdog comparable to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and he will also propose a new international research organization, according to media reports.
NATO’s Next Chief?
Sunak made it clear before his trip to Washington that he wanted the United States and other NATO allies to back his defense secretary, Ben Wallace, as the next leader of the alliance.
“Ben does a fantastic job. He is a great defense secretary,” Sunak told reporters early this week.
He stated that NATO’s next leadership is being discussed among the leaders of countries.
“Ben is widely respected among his colleagues around the world. We’re one of the only countries that participates in every single NATO operation. We are widely perceived as a thought leader in NATO.”
Wallace, a former British Army captain, is widely regarded as a leading contender to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as NATO Secretary-General in October.
Other possible candidates include Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Mette Frederiksen, the current Danish prime minister, has also emerged as a serious contender. But during her meeting with Biden at the White House on June 5, Frederiksen told reporters that she was not seeking NATO’s top job.
During his meeting at the White House, Sunak will reportedly lobby Biden to support Wallace’s nomination.
NATO is a military alliance made up of 31 member countries. Since the United States is the primary driving force within the alliance, Biden’s support is crucial for Sunak.
When asked about this, Jean-Pierre stated that she would not engage in speculation or discuss the process or the president’s thoughts regarding the next steps.
Ahead of their meeting, Sunak is expected to present Biden with a “Mr. President”-emblazoned Barbour jacket and a copy of a mid-19th-century book written by the president’s Irish great-great-grandfather, Christopher Biden.
From The Epoch Times