Joe Biden inauguration: World reaction

Leaders from around the world react as the transfer of power takes place in Washington, DC.

United States President Joe Biden delivers a speech after he was sworn in as the 46th US president on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021 [Jim Bourg/Reuters]

Joe Biden has been sworn in as president of the United States, following his election victory over Donald Trump last year.

Here are some of the global responses to Wednesday’s transfer of power in Washington, DC. This list will be updated as more reactions from leaders around the world come in.

Taiwan

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen tweeted her congratulations to Biden and Harris and said she hoped to work together with the new administration on regional democracy, freedom, peace and stability.

Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador in Washington, became the first senior official from the self-ruled island, which is claimed by China, to attend a presidential inauguration. She said she was honoured to represent Taiwan at the event.

“Democracy is our common language and freedom is our common objective,” she said in a short video posted to Twitter. “I look forward to working with the next administration in advancing our mutual values and interests.”

Japan

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tweeted his congratulations to the new president and his vice president Kamala Harris in both English and Japanese.

“Japan and the United States are allies tied firmly by bonds and shared universal values,” Suga wrote. “I look forward to working with you and your team to reinforce our alliance and to realize a free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

United Kingdom

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he looks forward to working with the incoming president.

“I look forward to working with him [Biden], and with his new administration, strengthening the partnership between our countries and working on our shared priorities, from tackling climate change, building back better from the pandemic and strengthening our transatlantic security,” Johnson said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson [Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout/Reuters]

Qatar

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani sent a cable of congratulations to Biden on the occasion of Biden taking the oath, wishing him success in his duties and pledging friendship and strategic cooperation between the two countries in their further development and growth.

Germany

In a video statement, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Biden taking the helm marked a “good day for democracy”.

“In the United States of America, it [democracy] has faced tremendous challenges – and endured. Despite the attempts to tear at America’s institutional fabric, election workers and governors, the judiciary and Congress have proven strong,” he said.

European Union

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the US was “back”.

“Europe stands ready. To reconnect with an old and trusted partner,” she wrote on Twitter.

Pakistan

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Twitter said he hoped to work with the newly elected Biden “in building a stronger Pak-US partnership”.

Italy

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he was “looking forward” to working with the Biden presidency.

“We have a strong common agenda, ranging from the effective multilateralism that we both want to see to climate change, green and digital transition and social inclusion,” Conte said.

China

China’s local and state media outlet Xinhua wrote an editorial hailing the end of Trump’s term, saying “good riddance to the current US administration and its final madness”.

Vatican

Pope Francis told Biden he was praying that God would guide his efforts to bring reconciliation in the US and among the nations of the world.

In a message sent shortly after the second Catholic US president was sworn in, Francis also said he hoped Biden would work towards a society marked by true justice, freedom and respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those with no voice.

Iran

President Hassan Rouhani hailed the departure of “tyrant” Trump, who in 2018 reimposed punishing sanctions against Iran following Washington’s unilateral decision to withdraw from a landmark nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015.

A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said.

“We expect [the Biden administration] to return to law and to commitments, and try in the next four years, if they can, to remove the stains of the past four years.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh called for action and “not just words” shortly after Biden was sworn in.

“The world knows that only the US can fix itself – in practice; not just words,” Khatibzadeh said in a Twitter post.

Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and said he was “looking forward to continuing this partnership”.

NATO

NATO said it hoped to boost transatlantic ties under Biden.

“We look forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden to further strengthen ties between the United States and Europe, as we face global challenges none of us can tackle alone,” the military alliance’s chief Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.

Russia

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia will seek “good relations with the United States”, but whether or not the latter works towards the same goal will “depend on Mr Biden and his team”.

Peskov said President Vladimir Putin has “consistently” advocated for the preservation of a landmark nuclear weapons treaty and it was now up to Washington to preserve the pact.

Dmitry Peskov - ReutersKremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov [File: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters]

France

French President Emmanuel Macron lauded new US President Joe Biden’s decision to return to the Paris Agreement climate accord, telling him “welcome back” in a congratulatory message after his inauguration.

“Best wishes on this most significant day for the American people!” Macron tweeted in English.

“We are together. We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!”

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Biden’s commitments to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO) – which leads the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and the Paris climate treaty are “extremely important” following Trump’s exit from them.

“We are impatient to build with President Biden a strong, useful and renewed relationship,” Attal said after a cabinet meeting. “We have aims and colossal challenges to take together.”

India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Biden and said on Twitter that the US and India “stand united and resilient in addressing common challenges and advancing global peace and security”.

Palestine

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: “There are no regrets at the departure of Trump, as he has been the biggest source and sponsor of injustice, violence and extremism in the world and the direct partner of the Israeli occupation in the aggression against our people.”

“US President Joe Biden must reverse the course of misguided and unjust policies against our people and lay the foundations for security and stability in the region.”

Belarus

“Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris! Best wishes in your work on behalf of all United States people. Looking forward to working with you on developing relations between Belarus and US!”, exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya posted on Twitter.

Spain

The spokesman for Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said: “Biden’s victory represents the victory of democracy over the extreme right.

“Five years ago, we believed without [a] doubt that Trump was a bad joke. Five years later, we realise that he endangered the world’s most powerful democracy.”

Greece

Greek Prime Minister said he looked to further strengthening ties between Greece and the US with “a sense of renewed optimism”.

Mexico

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he shared Joe Biden’s policy priorities and wished him success ahead of his inauguration.

“I agree with his three main approaches … [tackling the] pandemic, economic reactivation and migration. And of course, wishing that President Biden does very well in his administration,” he told reporters.

AMLO coverLopez Obrador added that he hoped for a smooth and peaceful inauguration ceremony for the Democrat [File: Mexico’s Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

Portugal

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Twitter that his administration was ready to work with Biden from “day one”.

Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Biden to “strengthen” a long-standing alliance between the two countries, partly in order to confront the “threat” posed by Iran.

“I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the US-Israel alliance, to continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran,” Netanyahu said in a video congratulating Biden.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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