Washington – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday that the first steps taken by President Biden on issues such as foreign policy and climate change are “incredibly encouraging” for relations between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“There have been some major developments in the way the UK and US thinking have come together in recent weeks, and particularly on issues like climate change, NATO, Iran, but most of all, in the ways that The United States and the United Kingdom will work together to address the environmental challenge facing our planet, “Johnson said in an interview with” Face the Nation. ” “And there, I think some of the things that we’re hearing now from the new American administration and the new White House are incredibly encouraging. And we want to work with the president on that.”
Johnson was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris after they were declared the winners of the November presidential election. The president also spoke with Johnson three days after his inauguration, and Biden conveyed “his intention to strengthen the special relationship between our countries and revitalize transatlantic ties,” according to a summary of the White House call.
Johnson told “Face the Nation” that he is “delighted” to have a good relationship with the White House and said he has had “great conversations” with Biden. The UK prime minister also said he is “delighted” that Biden has embraced the “Rebuild Better” catchphrase, especially when it comes to tackling the coronavirus pandemic, although Johnson joked that he used it first.
“It’s the right motto,” he said. “We have to learn from this pandemic. We have to learn how to share information, how to share drugs properly, how to make sure we don’t accumulate things like personal protective equipment, like you saw earlier in the pandemic. We have to make sure we distribute the vaccines.” .
Johnson said he hopes the United States and the United Kingdom can work together to learn from the pandemic and said he supports the Biden administration by expressing concern about an investigation.at . National security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement Saturday that the White House has “questions about the process used to arrive” at the first findings of the investigation and stressed that it is “imperative” that the report be independent, “with findings. of experts free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government. “
“When you have a zoonotic pest like coronavirus, we need to know exactly how it happened. In fact, if it is zoonotic, if it really originated from human contact with the animal kingdom, that’s what is claimed. But we need to know exactly what happened.” . “Was it in a wet market? Did it come from bats? Were bats associated with pangolins? All of these questions are now a matter of speculation,” Johnson said. “We need to see the data. We need to see all the evidence. So I fully support what President Biden has said about it.”
Both the US and the UK are grappling with new strains of the coronavirus, one of which was first identified in the UK, another in South Africa and a third in Brazil. Public health officials believe that the UK variant, B.1.1.7., Is more transmissible, and the emergence of the new strains has raised questions about how effective vaccines developed are in protecting against COVID-19.
Johnson, however, said he has “great confidence” in the vaccines the UK is using, and that “they have no reason to think they are ineffective” against the newer variants.
“That is a very important consideration for us,” he said. “One of the features of Oxford AstraZeneca that has been recently confirmed by scientists is that it also reduces human-to-human transmission. There is a 67% reduction in transmission as a result of the use of these vaccines.”