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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

Legacy civil rights groups: Biden's transition needs to include us

President-elect Joe Biden at the NAACP 110th National Convention last year. Photo: Bill Pugliano via Getty

Prominent civil rights leaders are concerned that President-elect Joe Biden is deciding his administration without their input, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: As Biden looks to deliver his promise of forming a diverse administration, he will have to contend with different factions of the liberal movement that might pull him in different directions.

Dec 2, 2020 - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Biden's economic team will write a new crisis playbook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden's economic team faces a daunting task helping the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs or otherwise been financially ravaged by the coronavirus. But most of them have first-hand crisis experience, dating back to when Barack Obama inherited a crumbling economy when he took office in 2009.

Why it matters: Most of President-elect Biden's economic nominees served in the Obama administration, and wish that they could have gone bigger to help America recover from the 2008 financial crisis. But it's not going to be easy for them to push through massive fiscal spending in 2021.