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Joe Biden reaffirms ties between US and New Zealand in phone call with NZ PM Jacinda Aldern
President-elect Joe Biden is already communicating with foreign leaders as part of reaffirming relations between the US and their respective countries. One of Biden’s most recent calls is with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Aldern, who shared what they discussed.
Aldern shared that Biden is keen on “reinvigorating” ties between the US and New Zealand in their call, which she described as a “warm and positive” conversation. Biden was said to have recalled his memories in the country to her, to which she invited him to come and visit. Aldern also revealed that she sensed that the president-elect was determined to work together in tackling issues such as climate change and even touched on the response to COVID-19, for which New Zealand is also praised for.
“I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials’ in order to share their experience on things we’ve learned on our COVID-19 journey,” said Aldern. The prime minister also revealed that she brought up how important organizations like the World Trade Organization are to the country. Aldern and Biden’s call was a stark contrast to her previous interactions with Donald Trump, who called for a fundamental reset on the organization while sabotaging its ability to settle disputes.
Trump and Aldern’s relationship appeared to be rocky despite the attempt to be diplomatic. When the coronavirus pandemic spread all over the world, Trump claimed that New Zealand experienced a big surge of COVID-19 cases - a cluster of 87 cases after 102 days without infection. It was a claim that Aldern refuted with data, citing how the US has 16,563 cases per million people at the time, while New Zealand only has 269 per million.
Meanwhile, Biden has announced the first names of possible Cabinet members. Alejandro Mayorkas is nominated for the post of Department of Homeland Security and the first Latino to become the head of the said department if confirmed. Avril Haines will be nominated for director of National Intelligence, and will also make history if confirmed by the Senate as the first woman to lead the intelligence community.
Antony Blinken has been confirmed as Biden’s Secretary of State, while Linda Thomas-Greenfield will become the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Jake Sullivan will be joining the Biden administration as National Security Advisor.