'Our closest ally', UK PM Johnson voices confidence in U.S. ties
By Elizabeth Piper LONDON (Reuters) - The United States is Britain's closest and most important ally, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday, expressing confidence he could achieve much on everything from trade to climate change with President-elect Joe Biden.
By Elizabeth Piper
LONDON (Reuters) - The United States is Britain's closest and most important ally, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday, expressing confidence he could achieve much on everything from trade to climate change with President-elect Joe Biden.
Johnson, who was once fondly dubbed "Britain Trump" by President Donald Trump, congratulated Biden on his victory on Saturday, saying he looked forward to "working closely together on our shared priorities".
But some say Johnson, a leading force in the campaign to leave the European Union, might struggle to forge a close bond with Biden, who has in the past cast doubt over Brexit and has never met the prime minister.
Johnson, his foreign minister Dominic Raab and other members of the governing Conservatives were keen to underline how much overlap there now was between the incoming U.S. administration and that of the British government on shared interests.
"The United States is our closest and most important ally. And that's been the case under president after president, prime minister after prime minister. It won't change," Johnson told reporters, adding he had not yet spoken to the president-elect.
He said he looked forward to working with Biden and his team "on a lot of crucial stuff for us in the weeks and months ahead: tackling climate change, trade, international security. Many, many, many, many, many other issues".
Raab went further by saying Biden would "have no greater ally, no more dependable friend than the United Kingdom". Former finance minister Sajid Javid predicted a much better chance of sealing a trade deal under the new administration rather than the "protectionist" Trump.
Britain is pursuing trade deals around the world after leaving the EU in January, to try to project Johnson's vision of a "global Britain", but talks with the United States have slowed over the last few months.
Describing himself as a "keen student of the United States' trade policy", Johnson said he believed there was a good chance the two sides would "do something on trade" despite Washington being "tough negotiators".
But it is Britain's trade talks with the EU that might cast a shadow over the relationship between Johnson and Biden, after the U.S. president-elect expressed concerns over whether Britain would uphold Northern Ireland's 1998 peace agreement and said he had hoped for a "different outcome" from the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The British government has repeatedly said it will uphold the Good Friday Agreement, which ended 30 years of violence in the British province of Northern Ireland, and on Sunday, Raab accused the EU of putting it in jeopardy.
U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat, told the BBC he expected "some reconsideration of whatever comments may have been made about the moment of Brexit".
"The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom has endured over decades and I expect that there will be opportunities promptly for there to be some visits, some conversations."
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.