WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will visit Canada later this month, the White House announced on Thursday, where he'll address the country's parliament and meet with Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.
A key point on the agenda will be modernizing the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which monitors the skies above the continent. The defense partnership was in the spotlight recently when NORAD tracked a suspected Chinese spy balloon that passed over the two countries before being shot down over the coast of South Carolina.
A U.S. fighter jet later shot down an unidentified flying object in Canadian airspace.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and they'll spend March 23 and 24 in Ottawa. She said the trip “will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the U.S.-Canada partnership and promote our shared security, shared prosperity, and shared values.”
Biden and Trudeau plan to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine, strengthening supply chains and supporting clean energy. Instability in Haiti and migration throughout the region are also on the agenda.
“Canada and the United States are allies, neighbors, and most importantly, friends,” Trudeau said in a statement. “As we face increasing global uncertainty, we will continue working together as we defend our continent and our shared values, create more opportunities for people and businesses on both sides of the border, and build strong economies as reliable suppliers as we move toward a net-zero world."
The announcement formalizes conversations about when Biden will make his first trip as president to the United States' northern neighbor.
The White House previously said the trip would happen this month after Biden met with Trudeau in January during a summit of North American leaders in Mexico City.
Key priorities for Canada for the visit include ensuring the U.S. doesn’t enact protectionist trade measures, border migration challenges and support for Ukraine.
The coronavirus forced the two leaders to convene virtually in 2021 and Biden has not yet visited Canada as president.
Gillies reported from Toronto.