Advertisement

World leaders hope for renewed cooperation with U.S. as Biden assumes office

World leaders react to Biden presidency

World leaders welcomed into their ranks the new U.S. President Joe Biden, noting their most pressing problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, require multilateral co-operation, an approach his predecessor Donald Trump ridiculed.

Many expressed hope Biden would right U.S. democracy two weeks after rioters stormed the Capitol, shaking the faith of those fighting for democracy in their own countries.

Read more: Trudeau, Biden to speak Friday in 1st foreign call of new presidency

Governments targeted and sanctioned under Trump embraced the chance for a fresh start with Biden, while some heads of state who lauded Trump’s blend of nationalism and populism were more restrained in their expectations.

But the chance to repair frayed alliances and work together on global problems carried the day.

Story continues below advertisement

In a statement issued Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his congratulations.

“Canada and the United States enjoy one of the most unique relationships in the world, built on a shared commitment to democratic values, common interests, and strong economic and security ties,” he said. “Our two countries are more than neighbours – we are close friends, partners and allies.”

Click to play video 'Biden’s focus: ‘America returns’ rather than ‘America first’' Biden’s focus: ‘America returns’ rather than ‘America first’
Biden’s focus: ‘America returns’ rather than ‘America first’ – Jan 21, 2021

Trudeau said the two countries have “worked side-by-side to tackle some of the greatest challenges we have faced in our history.”

“We will continue this partnership as we fight the global COVID-19 pandemic and support a sustainable economic recovery that will build back better for everyone.”

Trudeau said he looks forward to working with the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress “as we strive to make our countries safer, more prosperous, and more resilient.”

Story continues below advertisement

China, whose U.S. relations nosedived due to widespread frustration in Washington over its human rights record and accusations of technology theft, expressed cautious hope about the change in the White House.

“China looks forward to working with the new administration to promote sound & steady development of China-U.S. relations and jointly address global challenges in public health, climate change & growth,” China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, tweeted.

Click to play video 'What’s ahead for Canada-U.S. relations during Joe Biden’s presidency' What’s ahead for Canada-U.S. relations during Joe Biden’s presidency
What’s ahead for Canada-U.S. relations during Joe Biden’s presidency – Jan 20, 2021

Biden “understands the importance of co-operation among nations,” said former Colombian president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos, who left office in 2018. “As a matter of fact, if we don’t co-operate — all nations — to fight climate change, then we will all perish. It’s as simple as that.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also noted the urgency of addressing the perils of climate change after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, a move Biden reversed in the first hours of his presidency Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Biden revokes presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline expansion on 1st day

With Biden, “we will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet,” he wrote on Twitter. “Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!”

Other European allies saw a chance to come in out of the cold after strained relationships with the Trump administration.

European Council President Charles Michel said trans-Atlantic relations have “greatly suffered in the last four years” while the world has become less stable and less predictable.

“We have our differences and they will not magically disappear. America seems to have changed, and how it’s perceived in Europe and the rest of the world has also changed,” added Michel, whose open criticism of the Trump era contrasted with the silence that mostly reigned in Europe while the Republican leader was in the White House.

In Ballina, Ireland, where Biden’s great-great-grandfather was born in 1832, a mural of a smiling Biden adorned a wall in the town, where some of the president’s relatives still live.

Click to play video 'Inauguration Day: Harris says Biden calls on U.S. to ‘summon’ American aspiration' Inauguration Day: Harris says Biden calls on U.S. to ‘summon’ American aspiration
Inauguration Day: Harris says Biden calls on U.S. to ‘summon’ American aspiration – Jan 20, 2021

“As he takes the oath of office, I know that President Biden will feel the weight of history _ the presence of his Irish ancestors who left Mayo and Louth in famine times in search of life and hope,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.

Story continues below advertisement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who formed close ties with Trump, noted a personal friendship with Biden and said he looked forward to working together to further strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has accused Trump of unfair bias toward Israel with policies like moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, expressed hope for a more even-handed approach from Biden. He urged “a comprehensive and just peace process that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence.”

Read more: ‘Democracy’s day’: Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States

In Latin America, Biden faces immediate challenges on immigration, and the leaders of the two most populous countries — Brazil and Mexico — were chummy with Trump. The Trump administration also expanded painful sanctions against governments in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro’s government urged dialogue with the Biden administration, while hoping the new president abandons the avalanche of damaging sanctions Trump imposed to attempt a regime change.

Some Venezuelans, however, like retired accountant Jesus Sanchez, 79, said he was disappointed to see Trump leave power. Trump backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, giving Venezuelans like him hope that Maduro’s days in power were numbered.

Carlos Vecchio, Guaido’s envoy in Washington who the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela’s ambassador, tweeted photos of himself at Biden’s inauguration. The invitation to attend was touted by Venezuela’s opposition as evidence the Biden administration will continue its strong support and resist entreaties by Maduro for dialogue that the U.S. has strenuously rejected until now.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video 'Biden inauguration: White House says Trump letter to Biden will stay private, no indication of call coming soon' Biden inauguration: White House says Trump letter to Biden will stay private, no indication of call coming soon
Biden inauguration: White House says Trump letter to Biden will stay private, no indication of call coming soon – Jan 20, 2021

Cuba’s leaders perhaps have a more realistic hope for improved relations: Biden was in the White House for the historic thaw in relations in 2014, and various officials expressed willingness to reopen a dialogue with Washington if there was respect for Cuba’s sovereignty.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel railed against Trump via Twitter, citing “more than 200 measures that tightened the financial, commercial and economic blockade, the expression of a despicable and inhuman policy.”

Read more: Biden will let Congress determine next steps of Trump’s impeachment, White House says

In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who cultivated an unexpectedly friendly relationship with Trump and was one of the last world leaders to recognize Biden’s victory, read from a letter he sent to Biden in 2012, calling for reorienting the bilateral relationship away from security and military aid and toward development.

Story continues below advertisement

He urged Biden to implement immigration reform, and added: “We need to maintain a very good relationship with the United States government and I don’t have any doubt that it’s going to be that way.”

U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region expressed anticipation of strengthening those alliances under a Biden administration. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and others highlighted their shared values as leaders of democracies.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said: “America’s new beginning will make democracy even greater.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Biden was a good friend to New Zealand and highlighted in particular the words given in his inaugural address. “President Biden’s message of unity as he takes office is one that resonates with New Zealanders,” Ardern said.

Click to play video 'White House says Biden to call Trudeau, expected to discuss Keystone XL pipeline' White House says Biden to call Trudeau, expected to discuss Keystone XL pipeline
White House says Biden to call Trudeau, expected to discuss Keystone XL pipeline – Jan 20, 2021

World leaders also acknowledged the history of Vice-President Kamala Harris taking office. She is the first woman, the first Black woman and the first South Asian to hold that office in the U.S.

Story continues below advertisement

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter congratulated both Biden and Harris, whose maternal grandfather was Indian.

“That is an historic moment and one that, I think as a father of daughters, you can only celebrate,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

__

Cook reported from Brussels. AP journalists around the world contributed to this report.