Sunday, 29 Nov 2020

Biden speaks with more world leaders and agrees to meet South Korea’s president.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with three more foreign leaders on Wednesday, in the latest show of international support for his election victory. He also committed to an early meeting with one of them: President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.

In a statement, the Biden transition team said the president-elect had participated in “congratulatory calls” with Mr. Moon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan. The calls with three of America’s closest allies came the day after four that Mr. Biden held with Western European allies, in a return to traditional diplomatic protocol after years of President Trump’s haphazard foreign interactions.

Mr. Biden spoke with each of the leaders about the coronavirus pandemic, the global economy and “strengthening democracy,” according to descriptions of the calls from the transition office. While the State Department would typically help facilitate such calls for a president-elect and supply him with translators if necessary, a source familiar with Mr. Biden’s calls over the past two days said the Trump administration had refused to provide such assistance.

But even as Mr. Trump continues to make false charges of voter fraud and claim to be the true winner of the election, virtually all of the world’s major leaders have now acknowledged that Mr. Biden will be inaugurated in January. The few holdouts include two autocratic allies of President Trump — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil — as well as President Xi Jinping of China.

In a Twitter post, Mr. Moon said he and Mr. Biden affirmed their countries’ “robust” alliance and desire for a “peaceful and prosperous” Korean Peninsula.

During their 14-minute phone call, Mr. Moon noted Mr. Biden’s “long experience in state affairs, his excellent leadership and clear vision,” said Mr. Moon’s spokesman, Kang Min-seok. Mr. Biden praised South Korea’s largely successful fight against the coronavirus, comparing it with the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic.

The two leaders agreed to meet as soon as possible after Mr. Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Kang said.

Mr. Moon’s government hopes that the Biden administration will restart stalled negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and drop Mr. Trump’s talk of reducing U.S. troop presence in South Korea, which now numbers 28,500.

“As president, I’ll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops,” Mr. Biden said in an opinion column published by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency days before the election.

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