'America is back,' Biden says in international speech unwinding key Trump foreign policy initiatives

Earlier in the day, the president announced a $4 billion commitment to COVAX

Updated: February 19, 2021 - 1:15pm

President Biden on Friday, in his first international address as president, declared "America is back," couching a series of initiatives he'll make throughout the day that draw sharp contrast to those of the Trump administration. 

"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," Biden said at the top at of his virtually address from the White House to the Munich Security Conference.

Earlier in the day, Biden participated virtually in the G7 Covid-19 meeting of world leaders, during which he announced that the United States will spend $4 billion on COVAX, the global initiative to create access to the coronavirus vaccine.

He intends later in the day to announce that the U.S. will officially reenter the Paris climate accords.

Both moves diverge from foreign policy under former Trump, who withdrew from the international climate change agreement because the though the terms were unfair to he U.S. and his decision to focus coronavirus spending on the U.S.

Biden told the group Friday that America is "fully committed" to its NATO allies and the group's alliance – Trump, in contrast, was critical of the behavior of some NATO allies, particularly when it came to fulfilling the economic commitments of the agreement, which often resulted in America paying in full, while European nations shirking their financial responsibilities. 

Biden emphasized the need to unite the U.S. and its European partners to address concerns over China, including its control cover international currency and steel markets. 

"Competition with China is going to be stiff," Biden said. "That's what I expect. And that's what I welcome," Biden said.

The president also said that the focus now is on who will "own the race to the future," adding that he is hopeful it will be America and its European partners. 

Iran also came up as a threat to the safety and ongoing development of the Middle East, as did Russia, which Biden called a challenge "different than" China, but "just as real."

He closed the address by speaking of the need to fortify American and European democracies for future generations.