World leaders reacted to Biden’s inauguration by offering congratulations, jockeying for position at the forefront of his foreign policy agenda, and in some cases pleading for the reversal of his predecessor’s policies.
Among most messages was a palpable sense of relief, as the international community embraced Biden’s pledge to reenter a series of global pacts and organizations that President Donald Trump cut loose.
Here’s what leaders have said so far.
“Once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday, leaving no uncertainty about her verdict on Trump’s relationship with the bloc.
“This new dawn in America is the moment we’ve been waiting for so long. Europe is ready for a new start with our oldest and most trusted partner,” she said in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
Von der Leyen said Biden’s inauguration would “be a message of healing for a deeply divided nation and it will be a message of hope for a world that is waiting for the US to be back in the circle of like-minded states.”
Biden has signaled a warmer partnership with Europe than Trump, who frequently criticized the EU on trade during his administration. His attacks on some European leaders led to frosty scenes at a number of summits.
Hours before the inauguration, Beijing expressed hope that Biden would “look at China rationally and objectively” to repair “serious damage” in bilateral ties caused by the Trump presidency.
“In the past four years, the US administration has made fundamental mistakes in its strategic perception of China … interfering in China’s internal affairs, suppressing and smearing China, and causing serious damage to China-US relations,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing Wednesday.
The Biden administration should, Hua said, “look at China rationally and objectively, meet China halfway and, in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, push China-US relations back to the right track of healthy and stable development as soon as possible.”
“If the new US administration can adopt a more rational and responsible attitude in formulating its foreign policy, I think it will be warmly welcomed by everyone in the international community,” she added.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Biden to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and lift US sanctions on Iran, overturning a key part of Trump’s foreign policy program.
“The ball is in the US’ court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact,” Rouhani said in a televised cabinet meeting.
He also launched a scathing attack on the outgoing President. A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said of Trump’s departure. “Someone for whom all of his four years bore no fruit other than injustice and corruption and causing problems for his own people and the world.”
Biden has said he plans to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, which was signed during when he was Barack Obama’s Vice President. Biden’s national security aides have suggested they would like further negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities, though Rouhani has said the missile prograam is non-negotiable.
The German President said he was relieved that Biden would be sworn in Wednesday, calling it “a good day for democracy.”
“In the United States, (democracy) held up against a lot of pressure,” Frank Walter Steinmeier said in a statement.
“Despite internal hostility, America’s institutions have proven strong — election workers, governors, judiciary, and Congress,” he said. “I am relieved that Joe Biden is sworn in as President today and coming into the White House. I know that this feeling is shared by many people in Germany.
Steinmeier also warned against the populist brand of politics that Trump embraced. “Despite all the joy we have about today, we must not forget that populism has seduced even the most powerful democracy in the world,” he said. “We must resolutely oppose polarization, protect and strengthen the public space of our democracies, and shape politics on the basis of reason and facts.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was looking forward to a close relationship with Biden’s administration.
“In our fight against Covid and across climate change, defence, security and in promoting and defending democracy, our goals are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them,” Johnson said in a statement Tuesday.
Johnson warmly welcomed Trump on his visits to the UK, with Trump once claiming that the Prime Minister was nicknamed “Britain Trump.” But the outgoing US leader was unpopular among Brits, and Johnson will be keen to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with Biden.
The new President could end up making two trips to the UK in 2021, with Johnson saying he looks forward to welcoming him to the G7 summit and to the hotly anticipated 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. “Only through international cooperation can we truly overcome the shared challenges which we face,” Johnson said on Tuesday.
CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim, Eleanor Pickston, Luke McGee and Stephanie Halasz contributed reporting