World leaders talk to Biden about the virus, other issues

World leaders spoke to President-Elect Joe Biden on Thursday about collaborating on the coronovirus epidemic, climate change and other issues, even after President Donald Trump’s refusal to contest the US election. The latter complicated the transition.

In his conversations with key Asian allies, Biden seemed intent on reducing his uncertainties about a less-engaged Washington that had formed during the four years of Trump’s “America First” approach.

A look at their conversation:

South Korea: During his 14-minute call by South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office, Biden reaffirmed America’s commitment to protect South Korea and said it would stop the nuclear standoff with North Korea Le would coordinate closely with Sol in one push.

Biden’s office said he expressed a desire to strengthen the US-South Korea alliance as the lynchpin of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. His office said that Biden praised Moon for the benefit of South Korea in his anti-virus campaign and discussed cooperation on global economic recovery and the countries’ “mutual interest in strengthening democracy”.

Moon spokesman Kang Min-siok said the leader agreed to meet “possibly soon” after Biden’s inauguration on 20 January.

Moon, who has ambitions for inter-Korean engagement, helped establish Trump’s leader-to-leader nuclear diplomacy with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who now exchanges the release of crippling US sanctions against the North and North Disagreement is prohibited. Disarmament step of the answer.

But Seoul also struggled to deal with an unconventional US president who saw much less value in alliances than his predecessors. Trump has consistently complained about the cost of deploying 28,500 US troops in South Korea. A cost-sharing agreement is concluded in 2019 and both sides have failed to agree on a replacement.

In an add-on to South Korea’s Yonhap News before the election, Biden vowed to strengthen the alliance rather than to drive out Seoul with reckless threats to take down our troops.

Australia: Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he invited Biden to Australia next year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the countries’ Common Defense Treaty. Morrison said that he and Biden clarified their commitment to strengthen the bilateral alliance during the call.

“We agreed that there was no more important time for this alliance between ourselves and the United States, but, more broadly, working together, especially for like-minded countries and values ​​that We hold and share, work together to promote peace, stability of course in the Indo-Pacific region, ”Morrison told reporters.

Biden said he looks forward to working on a number of common challenges, including the CORID-19 epidemic and protecting against future global health threats. Face climate change; To lay the foundation for global economic recovery; According to his office, strengthen democracy and maintain a safe and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Australia is participating in large-scale military exercises with the United States, Japan and India for the first time since 2007.

Australia withdrew from the annual exercise Malabar after the 2007 naval exercise over concerns about relations with China. But relations between Australia and its biggest trading partner have soured, with Beijing refusing to take calls from Australian government ministers.

Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihida Suga said that he and Biden confirmed the importance of their countries’ alliances during their call and agreed to deepen it in the face of China’s growing influence and North Korea’s nuclear threat.

“We had a very meaningful telephone conversation,” Suga told reporters after speaking to Biden on the phone for about 15 minutes as I would step forward to strengthen the Japan-US alliance with President-elect Biden. ”

Biden’s office said the leaders “shared their commitment to combat climate change, strengthen democracy around the world, and strengthen the US-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of a prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region.” talked to.”

Suga said he told Biden that Japan wants to pursue “free and open Indo-Pacific”, a vision that he hopes to include “like-minded” countries in the region, including Australia, India and Southeast Asian Promoting with the United States. Countries that share concerns about China.

China has built and militarized man-made islands in the South China Sea and is claiming all of the sea’s major fish and waterways. Japan is concerned about China’s claim to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands called Diaoyu in the East China Sea.

China has refused to expand it, saying it is only defending its territorial rights.

Suga said that Biden assured him that Washington was committed to protecting Japan’s territorial rights to Senkaku under a bilateral security agreement in case of military conflict.


AP author Kim Tong-hyung from Seoul, South Korea, Rod McGirick in Canberra, Australia, and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.


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