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Photo: Joe Raedle via Getty

Eight world leaders have now called to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden — four more than the number of GOP senators who have publicly done so.

Why it matters: The refusal by top Republicans to accept Biden's victory and allow legal options to be exhausted could mean weeks of drama and serve as a distraction from the work that is necessary to ensure a smooth transition of power.

  • As of Wednesday, four Republican senators have congratulated Biden on his projected victory — Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine) and Ben Sasse (Neb.).
  • Many world leaders, meanwhile, are moving on and preparing to work with the president-elect.

What they're saying: "I'm letting them know that America’s back. Back in the game. America’s not alone," Biden said Tuesday about his calls with foreign leaders. He spoke on Wednesday with three other leaders based in the Asia-Pacific about cooperating on the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted Wednesday ET after he and Biden spoke of their shared values and history that's seen the U.S. and Australia fight side-by-side in every conflict since World War I, saying he looked forward to "celebrating the 70th anniversary" of the ANZUS security treaty next year.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Biden discussed Wednesday the president-elect's "strong desire to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance even further in new areas," per a transition statement.
  • South Korean President Moon Jae was praised by Biden during their phone conversation for his "strong leadership on COVID-19, noting his commitment to cooperate on addressing the pandemic, building global health security, and stimulating global economic recovery," the transition team notes.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Monday that he and Biden are ready to pick up on their previous work together to "tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries - including climate change and COVID-19."
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Biden on Tuesday discussed plans to build on the U.S.-U.K. partnership in areas including trade and security through NATO, climate change and coronavirus recovery, per a PM's office statement.
    • Johnson invited Biden to attend a 2021 U.K.-hosted climate change summit and conveyed his congratulations to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for her historic achievement.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Biden Tuesday and said he was ready to work together on climate, health and the fight against terrorism, Reuters reports.
    • Biden conveyed his interest in reinvigorating bilateral and trans-Atlantic ties, including through NATO and the EU, his transition said.
    • Biden expressed his readiness to work together on global challenges, including security and development in Africa, the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and Iran's nuclear program.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel "expressed the wish for close and trusting future cooperation" on Tuesday, per a statement from her office. Merkel and Biden acknowledged transatlantic cooperation as a priority.
  • Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin's call with Biden reaffirmed the president-elect's commitment to restoring relations between the U.S. and EU, as well as his support for the Good Friday Agreement to ensure "no return of a border" on Ireland, Irish broadcaster RTE reports. Biden told Martin he'll sign the Paris Accord as soon as he is sworn next January.

Worth noting: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a briefing on Tuesday stood by President Trump and his allies' claims that the election isn't over and that the president has the right to pursue legal challenges.

Go deeper: As Trump fights the transition in D.C., the world moves on to Biden

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the latest world leaders to congratulate Biden.

Go deeper

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 29, 2021 - World

The global line for coronavirus vaccines stretches back to 2023

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

There’s a wild scramble at the front of the line for COVID-19 vaccines, with the EU discussing export bans and legal action to ensure its supply speeds up in the coming months.

The flipside: The back of the line likely stretches to 2023 and beyond. Almost no low-income countries have managed to begin distribution in earnest, and total vaccinations in all of continental sub-Saharan Africa currently number in the dozens.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Takeaways from Biden's sweeping order on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's mammoth executive order on climate policy weighs in at over 7,500 words and resists any single narrative, but I've got a few initial takeaways.

Why it matters: The order aims to marshal the entire federal government behind new initiatives, so that means agencies that may not have the muscle memory or expertise of the resource and environmental branches like EPA and DOE.