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Biden, Johnson strike convivial tone in 1st meeting

Carbis Bay, England – President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met for the first time Thursday, looking to highlight their nations’ famed “special relationship” but doing so against a backdrop of differences both political and personal.

Biden hopes to use his first overseas trip as president to reassure European allies that the United States had shed the transactional tendencies of Donald Trump’s term and is a reliable partner again. Tensions could simmer beneath the surface, but the leaders immediately struck a tone of conviviality.

From left, US President Joe Biden, Carrie Johnson, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and First Lady Jill Biden walk outside Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall, Britain, Thursday June 10, 2021.

“I told the prime minister we have something in common. We both married way above our station,” Biden joked after a highly choreographed walk with their spouses.

Johnson laughed and said he was “not going to dissent from that one” but then seemed to hint that he would be looking to only improve relations with his American counterpart.

“I’m not going to disagree with you on that,” said Johnson, “or indeed on anything else.”

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