U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has held additional congratulatory telephone calls with world leaders as he moves forward with preparations ahead of his inauguration January 20. The calls come as President Donald Trump refuses to concede following the November 3 election and challenges the results.
The Biden-Harris transition team says Biden spoke with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during separate calls Wednesday, thanking them for their congratulations. The statement said the conversations covered climate change, COVID-19 and strengthening democracy.
Biden spoke earlier in the week with leaders from Britain, Canada France, Germany and Ireland, according to transition officials. NATO ally Turkey also reached out, according to reports.
Japan's prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, says he and President-elect Biden had a “meaningful conversation” about the importance of their countries' alliance and working together on mutually important issues, particularly regional security.
Suga told reporters in Tokyo he congratulated Biden and Kamala Harris as the first female vice president-elect. There was no mention of Trump’s refusal to concede.
The Japanese prime minister told Biden regional security is an increasingly important issue. "I said [to Biden] that the Japan-U.S. alliance, as the security environment around Japan is turning increasingly severe, is indispensable for the peace and prosperity not only for the region but also for international society, and we need to further strengthen it.”
He said Biden agreed, and told Suga he looked forward to strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and working together on achieving peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
China has built and militarized man-made islands in the South China Sea and is pressing its claim to virtually all of the sea's key fisheries and waterways. Japan is concerned about China's claim to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea.
Suga said he and Biden agreed to meet as soon as possible. Suga was elected in September, replacing Shinzo Abe, who resigned for health reasons.