WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron will field questions from the press on topics likely ranging from U.S. tensions with China to Russia's war on Ukraine during a White House news conference on Thursday.
Macron arrived with his wife, Brigitte, at the White House early Thursday during a pomp-filled ceremony to kick off his second state visit to the Washington. Later Thursday, the Macrons will be feted during a White House state dinner - the first of Biden's presidency.
Macron was also the first foreign leader bestowed with the honor during the Trump administration.
Macron's visit to Washington comes just one year after a diplomatic quarrel between the two longtime allies over a submarine deal the Biden administration struck with Australia and the U.K. Australia canceled an agreement to buy submarines from the French after signing the defense pact with the U.S. and Britain.
Macron was so furious that he took the extraordinary step of sending the French ambassador to the U.S. back to Paris.
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With this week's state visit, Biden and Macron are trying to demonstrate that the historic bond between the two countries is still strong.
Transnational challenges such as the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis in Europe, the threat of a global recession and tension between the U.S. and China are far bigger than the diplomatic row that was the source of last year's friction, said Gérard Araud, a former French diplomat who was served as ambassador to the United States under Macron.
"The issues today are so important, what is at stake is so important, that the Australian submarines business is not forgotten and not forgiven, but in a sense, it is a bit in the background," Araud said.
Earlier Thursday, during an Oval Office meeting between the two leaders, Biden heaped praise on Macron.
"Emmanuel is not just the leader of France, he's one of the leaders of Europe," he said. "He's been very outspoken, and he has been very, very commanding in Europe.
Macron said Biden's decision to honor him with the first state visit of the Biden administration is "the best evidence of this, indeed, very long-term friendship and partnership."
"When we look at our common history, this friendship always prevailed - with quite good results, by the way," the French leader said.
But Macron was much more blunt during a reception at the French embassy Wednesday night. Macron complained about the Biden administration's subsidies for U.S.-made products. The subsides were included in one of Biden's signature achievements, the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping climate and health care law.
The subsidies "will fragment the West," Macron said, "because they create such differences between the U.S. and Europe."
Michael Collins and Francesca Chambers cover the White House. Follow Collins on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS and Chambers @fran_chambers.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden, Macron to talk China, Russia-Ukraine war ahead of State dinner