President Joe Biden had another unfortunate moment and slipped down the steps at the G7 Summit in Japan on Friday morning, nearly faceplanting on the concrete as he slipped and stumbled his way down a small set of stairs. While he remained upright despite looking like he stepped on a banana peel, it was yet another unfortunate moment for the elderly president.
Watch the incident here:
The moment added yet more ammunition for critics of the president who allege that he is physically unfit for the job, particularly when paired with his dazed and confused look and old age.
Despite assurances from the president’s physicians that he is in good physical shape, the octogenarian president, Biden, has had and unfortunate series of dips, trips, and tumbles throughout his public appearances as president.
For example, he infamously tripped twice while ascending the stairs for Air Force One, spawning numerous memes and mocking videos. Similarly, in July of 2022, he fell from his bike during a ride with the First Lady at Rehoboth Beach.
In addition to the awkward slip, President Biden had to postpone a meeting with “The Quad,” which is India, Australia, Japan, and the United States and meant to combat China’s rising influence in the Pacific. Announcing that postponement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre said:
After President Biden had to postpone his trip to Australia, the Quad leaders agreed that they would hold their summit in Hiroshima to ensure that the four leaders could come together to mark the Quad’s progress over the past year. So tomorrow, in addition to the G7, President Biden will participate in the third in-person Quad Leaders’ meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. Along with sharing strategic assessments, the leaders will welcome new forms of Quad cooperation on secure digital technology, submarine cables, infrastructure capacity building, and maritime domain awareness. President Biden thanks Prime Minister Albanese, as well as the Prime Ministers of Japan and India, for their flexibility, and he looks forward to rescheduling his trip.
Additionally, the G7 leaders used the meeting in Hiroshima to reiterate their anti-nuclear weapons stance, a potentially positive sign as tensions with Russia continue to heat up, saying, in part:
We, the Leaders of the G7, met at a historical juncture in Hiroshima, which together with Nagasaki offers a reminder of the unprecedented devastation and immense human suffering the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced as a result of the atomic bombings of 1945. In a solemn and reflective moment, we reaffirm, in this first G7 Leaders’ document with a particular focus on nuclear disarmament, our commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.
We underscore the importance of the 77-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons. Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, undermining of arms control regimes, and stated intent to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus are dangerous and unacceptable. We recall the statement in Bali of all G20 leaders, including Russia. In this context, we reiterate our position that threats by Russia of nuclear weapon use, let alone any use of nuclear weapons by Russia, in the context of its aggression against Ukraine are inadmissible. We recall the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States issued on January 3, 2022, on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races, and affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. We call on Russia to recommit – in words and deeds – to the principles enshrined in that Statement. Our security policies are based on the understanding that nuclear weapons, for as long as they exist, should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war and coercion.
The overall decline in global nuclear arsenals achieved since the end of the Cold War must continue and not be reversed. The Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) must be upheld as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We reaffirm our commitment to the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all, achieved through a realistic, pragmatic and responsible approach. In this regard, Japan’s “Hiroshima Action Plan” is a welcome contribution. We deeply regret Russia’s decision to undermine the New START Treaty, and call on Russia to enable a return to full implementation of the Treaty. At the same time, China’s accelerating build-up of its nuclear arsenal without transparency nor meaningful dialogue poses a concern to global and regional stability.
We emphasize the importance of transparency with regard to nuclear weapons and welcome actions already taken by the United States, France and the United Kingdom to promote effective and responsible transparency measures through providing data on their nuclear forces and the objective size of their nuclear arsenal. We call on nuclear-weapon States that have not yet done so to follow suit. To promote transparency, we also call on nuclear-weapon States that have yet to do so to engage with non-nuclear-weapon States in a meaningful dialogue on transparency regarding their nuclear arsenals and limiting nuclear competition, including through an open explanation of national reports coupled with an interactive discussion with non-nuclear-weapon States and civil society participants at future NPT related meetings. In this regard, we stress the benefit of pre-notification of relevant strategic activities, as a substantial contribution to risk reduction. The G7 recognizes the need for concrete steps by nuclear-weapon States to reduce strategic risks. We call on China and Russia to engage substantively in relevant multilateral and bilateral forums, in line with their obligations under the NPT, including Article VI.
We call for the immediate commencement of long overdue negotiations of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. 2023 will mark the 30th year since the consensual adoption of a United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution calling for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), and we urge all countries to refocus political attention towards the FMCT as a priority action to forestall a recurrence of the nuclear arms race, including any and all independent or complementary efforts. In this regard, we call on all states that have not yet done so to declare and maintain voluntary moratoria on the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
We are resolute in our view that no nation should carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or other nuclear explosion, condemn any threats to do so, and emphasize that bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force is another urgent matter. We remain committed to upholding the global norm against nuclear explosive testing until it is legally binding and call on all states to declare new or maintain existing moratoriums on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions. We express our concern over Russia’s announcement of its readiness to conduct a nuclear test, and we call for Russia’s adherence to its moratorium on nuclear tests. We further underscore the essential role of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission in detecting and reporting suspected nuclear explosions worldwide. The G7, collectively, has supported the CTBTO’s activities in the amount of more than 100 million US dollars in 2023. We reaffirm the G7’s commitment to providing sufficient resources to ensure the continued operation and the long-term sustainability of all elements of the CTBT verification system and call on others to do the same.
A world without nuclear weapons cannot be achieved without nuclear non-proliferation. We reiterate our unwavering commitment to the goal of North Korea’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible abandonment of its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, and any other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs). We demand North Korea refrain from any other destabilizing or provocative actions, including any further nuclear tests or launches that use ballistic missile technology. North Korea cannot and will never have the status of a nuclear-weapon State under the NPT. It is critical that sanctions be fully and scrupulously implemented by all states and remain in place for as long as North Korea’s WMD and ballistic missile programs exist. We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s unabated escalation of its nuclear program, which has no credible civilian justification and brings it dangerously close to actual weapon-related activities. We reiterate our clear determination that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon and we call on all countries to support the implementation of UNSCR 2231. We urge Iran to cease nuclear escalations. We call on Iran to fulfill its legal obligations and political commitments regarding nuclear non-proliferation without further delay. A diplomatic solution remains the best way to resolve international concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. In that context, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action continues to provide a useful reference. We call on Iran to uphold its safeguards obligations and stated commitments with prompt and concrete action. We commend and continue to fully support the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) crucial mandates and efforts in Iran.
In these times of uncertainty and tension, it is of paramount importance to preserve, resource and strengthen existing regimes and other global efforts. We urge all states to take their responsibilities seriously to meet the highest standards of safeguards, safety, and security in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science, and technology, including those related to the deployment of next-generation nuclear technologies. We further express our profound concern over Russia’s attempt to control Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, which poses serious nuclear safety and security risks and is in total disregard of Ukraine’s right under the NPT to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We reaffirm the importance of the implementation of the highest standards of safeguards of the IAEA and the universal adoption of the Additional Protocol (AP) as fundamental components of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We will promote a reliable and responsible nuclear supply chain, in accordance with the highest standards of nuclear non-proliferation, including the application of the AP. We support further discussions within the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) towards the establishment of the AP as a condition of supply in the Group’s guidelines. Those G7 countries which opt for nuclear power, or related peaceful nuclear applications, recognize that the use of nuclear energy, science, and technology contributes to providing affordable low-carbon energy. The G7 notes the contribution of nuclear technology applications, in such fields as medicine or isotope hydrology, to promoting prosperity and addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We reiterate our utmost commitment to the G7-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, which for more than 20 years has delivered concrete impactful programming to advance nuclear non-proliferation in every part of the world.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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