Day 2 of the 2021 G7 summit

By Eliza Mackintosh, Peter Wilkinson, Melissa Macaya and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 5:20 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021
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11:22 a.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Biden and France's Macron hold bilateral meeting on sidelines of G7 summit

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Lindsay Isaac

French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden hold a meeting in Carbis Bay, England, on June 12.
French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden hold a meeting in Carbis Bay, England, on June 12. Pool

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron held their first formal in-person meeting beside the sea on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England.

"We have some things we have to talk about a bit later; things are going, I think, well, and we're — as we say back in the United States — we are on the same page. Thank you," Biden told reporters during their bilateral meeting.

Macron said cooperation is key to battle the pandemic and climate change. The French president noted he appreciates having the US as part of the “club” with other G7 countries, following a more fraught relationship with the US under former President Donald Trump. 

"What we need is cooperation, and I think it is great to have the US President part of the club and very willing to cooperate, and I think that what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership. We really appreciate that," the French president told reporters.

Biden reiterated that the US "is back" and that he believes a lot can be done on the world stage. The US President also noted his country feels "very strongly about the cohesion" of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and expressed that the European Union is “incredibly strong and vibrant.”

Asked if allies think America is back, Biden looked at Macron and said, “Ask him,” to which Macron replied in the affirmative: “Definitely.”

The US and French leaders held a pull-aside during Friday's summit session, but today's bilateral was their first formal one-on-one in-person meeting.  

“The Leaders discussed a range of regional and bilateral issues, including COVID-19 and counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel, and affirmed the importance of the U.S.-France partnership and the Transatlantic alliance,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement about yesterday's pull-aside.

Biden and Macron's meeting comes after CNN reported that tensions have emerged at the summit with regards to China. While officials at the summit see infrastructure as an area of agreement during the gathering, leaders aired serious differences over how best to approach China during a session on Saturday, according to a senior administration official.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed reporting to this post.

Watch the moment here:

9:31 a.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Divisions on China emerge among world leaders in tense G7 meeting

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England 

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a meeting in Beijing on May 28.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a meeting in Beijing on May 28. Ju Peng/Xinhua/Getty Images

World leaders aired serious differences over how best to approach China during a session of the G7 summit in Cornwall on Saturday, according to a senior Biden administration official.

The disagreements, aired during a session that at one point became so sensitive that all internet was shut off to the room, pitted European nations against the United States, Britain and Canada, who urged stronger action against China for its authoritarian practices, including forced labor practices in western Xinjiang province.

Officials described the China issue as one of the most challenging elements of the G7 gathering.

“There was some interesting discussion, and a little bit of differentiation of opinion on, not whether this threat is there but on how strong, from an action perspective, I think different G7 members are willing to take things,” the official said.

At one point, US President Joe 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 official said Biden was joined by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron in pushing for tougher action on China. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and leaders from the European Union sought to emphasize areas of cooperation with China.

Even within those groupings, there was a spectrum of views on the matter, officials said.

Where officials did agree was on establishing an infrastructure initiative to compete with China’s Belt and Road program. 

Still, though the leaders disagreed, the session was marked by new respect among the leaders after four years of tension under former US President Donald Trump.

"These leaders really seem to like each other and respect each other, and work through where that sweet spot might be,” the senior administration official said, describing real effort at finding consensus on tricky issues, including China.

Some more context: The G7 summit formally began on Friday evening with discussion of vaccines and later a family photo. Officials said there was a sense of new unity among the group after four years of strain under Trump, marked by embraces and warm looks between the leaders. Saturday’s session delved deeper into the differences between nations than the Friday talks.

1:50 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Boris Johnson tells CNN he believes Biden will bring "tough messages" to summit with Putin

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told CNN he “wholly approves” of US President Joe Biden bringing “tough messages” to a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

Asked by CNN’s Clarissa Ward whether he agrees with Biden’s assessment of Putin being a "killer," Johnson said he “certainly” thinks “President Putin has done things that are unconscionable.” 

Johnson said he is “fairly certain that Putin authorized the poisonings in Salisbury that led to the death of an innocent and a member of the British public and the attempted poisoning of the Skripals.”  

Johnson pointed to the case of jailed and poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who he says is “in prison on trumped-up charges” and is “effectively being tortured,” an example of what happens to Putin’s enemies.  

He also said there can’t be a normalization in relations between the US and Russia until Moscow “changes its behavior.”

More on the Biden-Putin summit: The US and Russian leaders are currently not expected to hold a joint press conference following their high-stakes summit in Geneva, Switzerland Wednesday, two US officials familiar with the matter said.

The final plans are still being formulated and could change. But officials putting together the day's events said that as of Friday, no joint press conference was expected. On Saturday, the White House confirmed Biden would not join Putin after the summit for a press conference and instead the US President will hold a solo presser. As for the nature of the meeting, a White House official said they expect it to "be candid and straightforward."

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins contributed reporting to this post.

8:09 a.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Boris Johnson calls for "compromise on all sides" over Northern Ireland Protocol

From Eliza Mackintosh in London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England, on June 12.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England, on June 12. Peter Nicholls/WPA Pool/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the G7 on Saturday morning, as post-Brexit tensions between Britain and the European Union threaten to overshadow the summit.

Johnson also met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel at the Carbis Bay resort, where G7 leaders have gathered for the first major in-person summit since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Britain and the bloc have been locked in heated discussions over Northern Ireland -- the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with the EU.

The EU is furious at Britain's delays to imposing new checks on some goods coming into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, while Johnson has said the protocol is putting an undue burden on businesses and having a "damaging impact" on the people of Northern Ireland. The EU has launched legal action against the UK over its unilateral attempts to extend the Brexit grace period on food imports to Northern Ireland.

What is the "Northern Ireland Protocol"? The protocol, which forms part of the UK-EU Brexit deal, chiefly seeks to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and EU member state. It does so by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's customs area and single market for goods. The arrangement has created a de facto sea border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which has enraged unionists in Northern Ireland and in Britain.

The growing feud between Britain and the EU has also drawn the attention of US President Joe Biden, concerned that it risks inflaming tensions on the island of Ireland and poses a threat to Northern Ireland's peace deal, which was brokered by the US in 1998.

Downing Street said on Saturday that EU leaders would continue discussions to seek a resolution to issues over the Northern Ireland Protocol, and that Johnson had called for "compromise on all sides."

Following Johnson's talks with EU leaders, a Downing Street spokesperson said: "He made clear his desire for pragmatism and compromise on all sides but underlined that protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions was paramount.”

Reacting on Twitter, Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU wants the “best possible relations with the UK," but urged it to “implement what we agreed on.”

9:37 a.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Biden will hold solo press conference after Putin meeting, White House says

From Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England 

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on April 21.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on April 21. Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden will hold a solo press conference following his meeting Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, the White House confirmed Saturday.

CNN first reported on Friday that a joint press conference wasn't currently expected, but that officials were still negotiating details of the summit with their Russian counterparts.

"While we are still finalizing the format for the meeting with President Putin and his delegation, we can confirm a few details, including the plan for both a working session and a smaller session, as well as a solo press conference by President Biden following the meeting," a White House official said.

"We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward and a solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting—both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns," the official went on.

It still was not immediately clear whether Biden and Putin will meet one-on-one without notetakers, as then-US President Donald Trump did when he met Putin in Helsinki.

8:19 a.m. ET, June 12, 2021

Biden's preaching the benefits of democracy in Europe, but new concerns arise back home

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England 

President Joe Biden's attempts to talk up democracy in Europe this week are facing headwinds from back home, where revelations about the Justice Department's attempts to obtain Democrats' data have raised new concerns about the state of American politics.

Throughout his time here, Biden is making the case to American allies that democracy must prevail over a rising tide of authoritarianism. His argument has been that democracies are better at providing for their people and the world.

He has openly acknowledged that democracies are often messy. But he said this week that the world had reached an "inflection point" where the competition between democracy and autocracy is coming to a head.

Yet as challenges back home bubble up, he is finding it harder to point to his country's own recent history, including the lingering remnants of President Donald Trump's tenure.

As he was preparing to attend his first G7 meeting on Friday, reports emerged from Washington that prosecutors in Trump's Justice Department, beginning in February 2018, subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of House Intelligence Committee Democrats, their staff and family members, including at least one minor, as part of a leak investigation. The subpoena included a gag order, which was renewed three times before it expired this year and Apple notified the customers in May.

The development immediately drew accusations the Trump administration was abusing its power in a decidedly undemocratic fashion. The attempts by the Justice Department to secretly gather information about Trump's political rivals came after revelations it took similar steps to obtain information from reporters at outlets Trump frequently denigrated.

It was the kind of step American officials often decry in the authoritarian regimes Biden is hoping to minimize in his European tour this week. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who's set to meet with the President next week and is a fan of using whataboutism in order to deflect criticism of his regime, no doubt read the reports with interest.

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8:19 a.m. ET, June 12, 2021

President Biden begins second day of G7

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England 

President Biden has arrived at Carbis Bay seaside village in Cornwall for the second day of the G7 summit. His motorcade arrived around 10:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m. ET).

Today's sessions are focused on "Building Back Resilient - Winning the Future" and "Building Back Resilient - Foreign Policy."

Later he is scheduled to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron for their first formal in-person meeting. They held a brief chat during Friday's summit session.

1:50 p.m. ET, June 12, 2021

G7 leaders to focus on strategic competition with China during Saturday session

From CNN's Betsy Klein in Falmouth, England 

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United States President Joe Biden arrive for a drinks reception at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on Friday in St Austell, Cornwall, England.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United States President Joe Biden arrive for a drinks reception at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on Friday in St Austell, Cornwall, England. Jack Hill/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Saturday’s working session at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, is aimed at strategic competition with China, Biden administration officials said, with the aim of positioning the US and its allies to better compete with China in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Part of that competition will include the “Build Back Better for the World” initiative, what a senior administration official described as a “bold, new global infrastructure initiative with our G7 partners that will be values-driven, transparent and sustainable.”

The infrastructure initiative will work to address a $40 trillion infrastructure gap in lower and middle-income countries, the official said, and is designed to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The G7 will announce “a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards, and our way of doing business,” a second senior official said.

The group will be joining partners and the private sector in “collectively catalyzing hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment for low and middle-income countries that need it."

Officials described the action not as a confrontation, but as the presentation of an alternative path.

This is not about making countries choose between us and China, this is about offering an affirmative, alternative vision and approach that they would want to choose,” the first administration official said. 

And in the coming days when Biden travels to the NATO summit in Brussels, NATO countries will be “addressing the security challenge from China directly in a communique” for the first time, per the first senior official.

A second piece of Saturday’s session, the officials announced, is aimed at targeting China’s forced labor practices.

President Joe Biden, the second official said, will be “pressing his fellow leaders for concrete action on forced labor, to make clear to the world that we believe these practices are an affront to human dignity and an egregious example of China’s unfair economic competition.”

The administration is advocating for China to be specifically named in the final G7 communiqué, though it was unclear if it will ultimately end up in the final agreement that will be released Sunday.

9:06 a.m. ET, June 12, 2021

G7 leaders in Cornwall want to tackle inequality. Even people down the road aren't convinced

From Angela Dewan in Redruth, England

A bronze sculpture of a tin miner overlooks a short strip of budget food and clothing stores, and boarded up businesses in Cornwall's Redruth. It's a celebration of the town's proud mining history, but also a reminder of its decline. A surgical mask on the statue's face symbolizes the town's sense of community -- and its collective anxiety over how it will pull through the pandemic.

Just a 20-minute drive away, leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) nations -- which together account for 40% of the world's GDP -- are staying in luxury accommodation on the glorious Carbis Bay, flying in on private jets for lavish meals and even a meeting with the Queen and other royals, to discuss, of all things, how to address the very inequality their nations have for so long perpetuated.

In a small Redruth gallery, the Mining Exchange Art Studios, a painting hangs on a wall, depicting a defunct fire station in need of a makeover. Lorna Elaine Hosking, a 29-year-old artist who runs the studios, thinks the G7 leaders are not really thinking about towns like hers.

"The G7 is a positive thing because it highlights how wonderful the county is, but it would be nice if the Cornish people were celebrated for more than just the seaside image, because it's much more than that," she said.

Lorna Elaine Hosking, manager of the Mining Exchange Art Studios Gallery, in Redruth, Cornwall, England, on June 11. Angela Dewan/CNN
Lorna Elaine Hosking, manager of the Mining Exchange Art Studios Gallery, in Redruth, Cornwall, England, on June 11. Angela Dewan/CNN

"We never really recovered from the economic crash in the '80s, and we've had lots more recessions since then. We do our best, but sometimes we get forgotten about. These leaders that come in, they just see the seaside, but us people inland -- in the old mining towns like Redruth -- the wages are very low. There's lots of problems."

Of all the world's advanced nations, the United Kingdom has one of the most unequal distributions of wealth -- the United States is even worse -- and Cornwall is home to some of the country's most deprived neighborhoods.

But what's going on in this Cornish town is the same story in so many parts of the world. Little progress has been made globally to improve equality since the 2008 financial crisis, and the frustration of hundreds of millions of people has culminated in movements like Occupy Wall Street, the election of populist leaders like Donald Trump, and a movement away from globalization to parochialism and protectionism.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is chairing the summit, said at the first leaders' meeting on Friday that it was "vital" to avoid repeating the same mistakes of the 2008 crisis, "when the recovery was not uniform across all parts of society."

"And I think what's gone wrong with this pandemic, or what risks being a lasting scar, is that inequalities may be entrenched."

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