The United State’s president Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed a new Atlantic Charter on the eve of the G7 summit in the United Kingdom. The agreement and the related joint statement by the two heads of state set focus on communist China.
On June 10, Biden and Johnson signed the agreement that is modeled after the 1941 Atlantic charter signed by then-U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt and the British prime minister Winston Churchill in a pledge to cooperate on peace and democracy when Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party was invading the European continent.
The new charter will now see the allies cooperate again to face the expansion of socialism with Chinese characteristics as Beijing continues to challenge the international liberal democratic rules-based order.
“Our revitalised Atlantic Charter, building on the commitments and aspirations set out eighty years ago, affirms our ongoing commitment to sustaining our enduring values and defending them against new and old challenges,” Biden and Johnson said in a statement. “We commit to working closely with all partners who share our democratic values and to countering the efforts of those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions.”
As was the case with the 1941 statement, the new Atlantic charter outlined eight key areas in which the United States and the United Kingdom have pledged to collaborate. They include defending the “principles, values, and institutions of democracy and open societies” and human rights, freedom of navigation and lawful use of the seas, and a commitment to open and fair trade between nations. Environmental and health stewardship were also mentioned among the eight key commitments.
The document did not mention communist China by name but it is clear that the commitments in the charter outline how the two countries intend to together face the threats posed by Beijing.
The commitments regarding human rights, rule of law, free press, fair trade, freedom of navigation, and protecting the liberal West’s “innovative edge” in science and technology directly address the Chinese regime’s ongoing encroachment on freedoms in Hong Kong, genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, as well as its increased military aggression in the disputed South China Sea, setting of debt traps for nations involved in its Belt and Road Initiatives, and systematic stealing of others’ intellectual property.
The Chinese communist regime quickly responded to the new Atlantic charter on the same day, in what the regime saw was action targeting Beijing. China’s state-run English media Global Times said the document “misreads the major trend of the time and risks destabilizing Europe.”
Biden and Johnson said in a joint statement that the new Atlantic Charter would deepen the two countries’ cooperation in the key areas. They stressed that the United States and the United Kingdom support a thorough second phase investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically named China.
“We will also support a timely, transparent, and evidence-based independent process for the next phase of the WHO-convened COVID-19 origins study, including in China, and for investigating outbreaks of unknown origin in the future,” the statement read.