Biden Talks to Johnson as U.K.-U.S. Relations Enter New Era

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden held a 20-25 minute phone call with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, in which the two leaders outlined their priorities on defense, trade and climate change.

The conversation was Biden’s second official call to a national leader after speaking to Canada’s Justin Trudeau. It will be seen as a welcome signal in London that the incoming White House team still regards Britain as a vital international ally. Biden also spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

The so-called special relationship between Britain and America has long been an obsession in the U.K., but there have been reports recently that Biden’s team have taken a negative view of Johnson.

Points of tension recently included Biden’s blunt warning to Johnson in September over the British leader’s approach to negotiations with theEuropean Union. In addition, Johnson has been seen as close to Donald Trump, the current president who has often been vocal in his admiration for the U.K. premier.

In an emailed statement on the call, Johnson’s office said he invited Biden to the COP26 climate summit taking place in Scotland next year.

“They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead, in areas such as trade and security — including through NATO,” a U.K. government spokesman said.

A French official said that Macon congratulated Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris on their election victory and assured them of his willingness to work with the U.S. on climate, health, fighting terrorism, and defending fundamental rights.

— With assistance by Ania Nussbaum

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