World leaders hope for fresh start after Biden win

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A passer-by takes a selfie with an extra newspaper reporting on President-elect Joe Biden's win in the U.S. presidential election, in Tokyo Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. The headline reads: Mr. Biden Assured to win.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

World leaders on Sunday cheered Joe Biden’s election as U.S. president as a chance to enhance cooperation on climate change, the coronavirus and other problems after four years of President Donald Trump's rejection of international alliances.

Trump had yet to concede defeat, but Western and Asian allies expressed hoped for a fresh start following Trump's “American First” trade policies, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and attacks on NATO and the World Health Organization.

In Asia, a region on edge about the strategic ambitions of China's ruling Communist Party, the elected leaders of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan invoked “shared values” with Washington and expressed hope for close relations.

“I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the Japan-US Alliance and ensure peace, freedom, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Twitter. President Moon Jae-in of South Korea said he looked forward to working together “for our shared values.”

Word of the victory in Pennsylvania that pushed Barack Obama’s former vice president past the threshold of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take over the Oval Office spread around the globe, sparking celebrations.

There was no immediate official reaction from Beijing, which is mired in conflicts with the Trump administration over trade, security and technology. But Chinese social media users welcomed the change. A post on the Sina Weibo microblog service, signed Gong Teng Xin Yi, said, “Congratulating Biden, the old friend of Chinese people on winning the election.”

After Trump said he won “by a lot,” the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily responded on Twitter, “HaHa.”

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing claims as part of its territory, expressed hope to “further our friendship.” Biden had congratulated Tsai on her reelection in January, saying Taiwan is “stronger because of your free and open society.” Washington has no formal relations with Taiwan, but Trump raised the profile of informal contacts by sending Cabinet officials to the island, an act that irritated Beijing.