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Biden causes sighs of relief among world leaders even as G7 divisions linger

June 12, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.3%. 2 min read.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) speaks with US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden and leaders of the G7 during a reception at The Eden Project in south west England on June 11, 2021. - G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, for three-day talks in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. (Photo by JACK HILL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

When President Donald Trump used his elbows at international summits, it was to throw them -- on trade, on Russia and, once, they helped him remove the Montenegrin prime minister from his path to a photo-op.

In front of cameras and behind-the-scenes this weekend, officials said the abrasive interjections and lengthy tangents Trump brought to world summits were absent, replaced by a more businesslike and predictable agenda, including on areas of serious disagreement like China.

At one point, Biden made a forceful call to other leaders about vocally calling out China's anti-democratic practices, officials said, emphasizing the need to take action.

The senior administration official said Biden doesn't view these summits as just box-checking events, but more of an opportunity to move forward and make progress when it comes to substance and challenges.

From his golf course across the Atlantic, Trump sought to inject himself into the club of foreign leaders to which he once belonged, delivering blistering criticism of Biden's first trip overseas, particularly the summit next week with Putin.

Still, the official noted, Trump's absence doesn't erase the recent experiences -- and an unsettled political environment in the US is still on the minds of key allies, even if it's not something any planned to bring directly to Biden's attention in these initial summit meetings.

"I think it's great to have the US President part of the group and very willing to cooperate," Macron said during his meeting with Biden.

"It's a breath of fresh air," said Johnson, the summit's host, after meeting Biden on Thursday.

Later, as the leaders emerged in a pack from the bayside resort where the summit is being held, the group was smiling broadly alongside Biden as they made their way to have their traditional "family photo" taken before the first session.

Making his way back indoors, Biden walked arm-in-arm with Macron — who hosted the last in-person G7 meeting on the Atlantic coast in 2019, which devolved partly into an argument led by Trump over whether to allow Russia to rejoin the group.

Macron's 2019 summit in Biarritz was the third G7 that Trump attended, and the third to demonstrate serious strain with other world leaders.

By the time Trump administration officials began planning for the next year's summit, hosted by France, there were open questions of whether he'd agree to attend.

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