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Joe Biden lines up economic team, receives congratulations from Xi Jinping

US President-elect Joe Biden will reveal his economic team and other key nominees next week, attendees said Wednesday, while receiving belated congratulations on his election victory from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The former Democratic vice president was scheduled to deliver a speech later Wednesday highlighting the challenges Americans face as COVID-19 cases surge on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Biden introduced his foreign policy and national security team Tuesday as he begins a formal transition to the White House after defeating Republican President Donald Trump. The president-elect has promised to make fighting the pandemic a top priority after taking office on January 20.

China’s Foreign Ministry, though not Xi himself, congratulated Biden on November 13, nearly a week after many US allies had done so, holding out as Trump refused to admit defeat. The president is still questioning the election results based on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

In his congratulatory message to Biden on Wednesday, Xi said that healthy ties between the world’s two largest economies are not only in the fundamental interests of their two peoples, but also expected by the international community, the news agency reported. official Xinhua.

During the election campaign, Biden promised a hard line on China’s growing influence around the world, referring to Xi more than once as a “bully” for his human rights practices. A Biden transition official said: “We appreciate the congratulations from all the world leaders who have conveyed them, including President Xi.”

Trump has marked his final year in office with frequent attacks on China. The two countries discussed China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a public health crisis that Trump has sometimes called the “plague of China,” as well as deteriorating freedoms in Hong Kong and territorial issues in the Sea. of South China. Trump also presided over trade tensions with China.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador again declined to congratulate Biden on Wednesday. Privately, Mexican officials have said they are wary of antagonizing Trump, who during his presidency threatened to harm Mexico economically if he did not stop illegal immigration.

NEW APPOINTMENTS

Biden plans to name his options next week for key positions in his administration, including his economic team, communications director Kate Bedingfield said. They are expected to include the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, as secretary of the US Treasury.

Biden said Tuesday that his team has been able to coordinate with the Trump administration on the pandemic, vaccine distribution plans and national security since he received the green light Monday for formal transition efforts. Biden was expected to receive his first daily presidential intelligence report on Monday, Bedingfield said.

Biden’s transition advisor Jen Psaki said classified information was already being shared with Biden’s senior team. Psaki said the federal agencies’ Biden field review focuses on fact-finding about the government’s response to the pandemic and urgent threats to national security, including adversaries who might attempt to exploit the transition period.

Bedingfield added that Biden’s team has been encouraged by the “professional and welcoming response” from public officials, and downplayed the impact of the Trump administration’s delay in starting the transition process.

Biden’s planned speech is meant to offer encouragement during an escalating pandemic and focus on the sacrifices Americans are making during the holiday season, his office said, as officials across the country plead with people to stay in. home and avoid large gatherings that could spread the pathogen.

Approximately 260,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and infections are increasing nationwide.

Millions of Americans have flocked to airports and highways in the days leading up to Thursday’s holiday, triggering the busiest travel period in the United States since the early days of the pandemic in March, albeit well below the levels of pre-pandemic holidays.

Bedingfield said Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris planned to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

TRUMP TRIP CANCELED

Trump has waged a failed legal battle to overturn the election results, falsely claiming they were stolen. Critics have said that Trump’s refusal to accept the results has damaged American democracy and undermined Biden’s ability to fight the pandemic and prepare to deal with threats to national security.

Trump canceled a trip to accompany his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to a Pennsylvania Senate committee meeting in Gettysburg, where Giuliani repeated his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Gettysburg is best known as the site of a crucial 1863 battle in the United States Civil War and the famous Gettysburg Address in which President Abraham Lincoln promised that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, will not perish from the earth. “

Bedingfield called Wednesday’s Gettysburg event “a sideshow.”

Trump retweeted a link to a story about a poll showing that a majority of American Republicans would vote for him if he ran again in 2024.

“But 2020 is far from over!” Trump wrote.

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