President-elect Joe Biden has assured the unwavering US support to its allies and has made his first calls to the leaders of Japan, South Korea and Australia on Thursday. The leaders discussed tackling issues such as climate change and regional security.
While outgoing president Donald Trump has refused to concede, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have joined other global leaders in recognizing the Democratic challenger’s victory in the elections.
Biden and Suga had a 15-minute conversation where the Japanese prime minister sought strengthening the US-Japan ties, essentially for the peace and prosperity of an increasingly unstable region.
As per a report in Nikkei Asia, Biden confirmed that Article 5of the Japan-U. S. Security Treaty, which stipulates that the U.S. is obliged to defend Japan should its territories come under attack, will be applied to the defense of Okinawa Prefecture and the Senkaku Islands.
— 首相官邸 (@kantei) November 12, 2020
The two leaders are likely to meet in February 2021 as a planned visit by the leader to the U.S. after the presidential inauguration ceremony.
In his conversation with South Korea’s Moon, Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea, highlighting the Asian ally as a “lynchpin of the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region,” as per Moon’s spokesman Kang Min-Seok.
“President-elect Biden said he would closely cooperate to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue,” the spokesman said.
— 문재인 (@moonriver365) November 12, 2020
“I just spoke to @JoeBiden and congratulated him on his election. We reaffirmed our firm commitment to a robust ROK-US alliance and peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula. Going forward, I will work closely with him to meet global challenges including COVID19 and climate change,” Moon tweeted.
Australia’s Morrison and Biden discussed emission reduction technology. “I raised with the president-elect the similarity between the president-elect’s comments and policies regarding emissions reduction technologies that we needed to achieve that, and we look forward to working on those issues,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra as per the Reuters report.
“There are no greater friends and no greater allies than Australia and the US. I look forward to strengthening even further our deep and enduring alliance, and to working with him closely as we face the world’s many challenges together,” Morrison tweeted after the call.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 12, 2020
Biden has earlier spoken to the leaders of Germany, the UK, Canada and France. Biden on Wednesday named Ron Klain as his White House chief of staff. Media speculations suggest Anthony Blinken, a diplomat and longtime confidant of Biden will likely is a pick for Secretary of State or National Security Adviser, both key roles for Asian allies.
Meanwhile, Biden’s calls with the foreign leaders are being compared to former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s “customary call” with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition in 2016.
Obama’s ex-Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes revealed that Biden has already been discussing the upcoming “agenda” of his administration with foreign leaders. In December 2016, Michael Flynn, who was to assume the post of National Security Advisor, held a phone conversation with the then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak to discuss sanctions.
A Sputnik report says that Democrats had then accused Flynn of violating the Logan Act, 1799 legislation which forbids private citizens from negotiating disputes with foreign governments with regards to the United States without authorization.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz told former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe during the Senate hearing, as per the Russian media report: “He is talking to foreign leaders and it doesn’t violate the Logan Act because the Logan Act is unconstitutional, which is why it’s never been used to prosecute anyone. You [to McCabe] authorized using it to go after General Flynn as part of a political prosecution.”