World

Biden: US will be 'ready to lead' again on global stage

Rejecting Trump's foreign policy approach, he said his team would shed 'old thinking and unchanged habits'

WILMINGTON: President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States will be "ready to lead" again on the global stage, turning the page on Republican President Donald Trump's America First policies as he pledged to work together with the nation's allies.

Introducing his foreign policy and national security team, the Democratic former vice-president signalled he intended after taking office on Jan 20 to steer the US away from Mr Trump's unilateralist nationalism.

Over four years, Mr Trump unsettled many US allies, in Europe and elsewhere, with an antagonistic approach towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and trade relations, abandonment of international agreements and warm relationships with authoritarian leaders.

Mr Biden said his team, which includes trusted aide Antony Blinken as his nominee for Secretary of State, would shed what the president-elect described as "old thinking and unchanged habits" in its approach to foreign relations.

"It's a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it, once again sit at the head of the table, ready to confront our adversaries and not reject our allies, ready to stand up for our values," Mr Biden said at the event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

CHINA

Mr Biden's promise to embrace alliances, including in the Asia-Pacific region, follows a deterioration in bilateral ties between the US and China, the world's top two economies, that has triggered comparisons with the Cold War.

Mr Biden said his team had been able to begin coordinating with the Trump administration on national security, the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine distribution plans since it got the green light on Monday for formal transition efforts.

"We're going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past," Mr Biden told NBC News.

"There's a lot of immediate discussion, and I must say, the outreach has been sincere."

The White House on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for Mr Biden to start receiving the president's daily intelligence briefing.

Mr Biden said he had not had one yet but expected it regularly.

He said that in his first 100 days in office, he would tackle the Covid-19 crisis, scrap Trump policies "damaging" the environment, and push legislation offering millions of undocumented residents a route to citizenship.

And he said he wanted to get all students back in classrooms, despite the huge cost of adapting schools to be Covid-safe.

"We face a totally different world," the president-elect said.

"President Trump has changed the landscape. It's become America First, which meant America alone."

Mr Biden also urged the Senate to give his nominees who require confirmation by the chamber "a prompt hearing" and hoped he could work with Republicans "in good faith".

But some Republican senators indicated they may try to block the appointments.

Mr Marco Rubio, a Foreign Relations Committee member, wrote on Twitter that Mr Biden's picks "will be polite & orderly caretakers of America's decline". - REUTERS, AFP

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