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U.S. President Joe Biden to host world leaders for dinner at NATO summit



U.S. President Joe Biden to host world leaders for dinner at NATO summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to meet with his NATO counterparts Wednesday ahead of a dinner at the White House, where the U.S. president is expected to host leaders of the defensive alliance.

Concerns over Joe Biden’s health and the possibility of a second Donald Trump presidency have cast a shadow over the three-day leaders’ summit in Washington, D.C.

The 81-year-old current president’s age and mental acuity have been under international scrutiny since a disastrous debate performance June on 27 against Trump.

Biden delivered a clear and forceful speech at NATO’s 75th anniversary celebration Tuesday evening at a critical time for the Democratic leader and for stability in his party. With the eyes of the world watching, it was an important moment for Biden to prove he was capable of being in charge.

But the demands of the summit have just begun. Biden’s team said the president is sharpest early in the day and tries to avoid events after 8 p.m. That is when Wednesday’s dinner with the NATO leaders is set to begin.

Trudeau did not answer a question from reporters Tuesday about whether he has concerns about the president’s health.

The prime minister is facing his own pressures during the summit, where Ukraine’s ongoing battle with Russia is taking top billing.

In the lead-up to the summit, American politicians took public note of the fact Canada is falling far short of its NATO funding commitments.

NATO allies have agreed to spend the equivalent of at least two per cent of their national gross domestic product on defence. Canada’s current spend is just under 1.4 per cent.

Trudeau tried to get ahead of the criticism during a speech Tuesday in which he said Canada has been following through on promises to increase that funding. It is an issue that’s likely to follow Trudeau during his encounters with international counterparts as the summit gets underway in earnest on Wednesday.

Trudeau is scheduled to meet with new Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof, along with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. He is also slated to take part in a meeting with the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

The 32 allies in the NATO alliance are set to gather for a North Atlantic Council meeting after a welcome ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

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