Blinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenChina: Electoral reform would bring 'brighter future' for Hong Kong State sanctions Ukrainian billionaire over alleged corruption Australian PM Morrison says Biden will join first-ever 'Quad' meeting MORE spoke with his Canadian, Korean, Japanese and Mexican counterparts over the phone Tuesday, his first conversations with foreign dignitaries since he was confirmed to his office Tuesday.

The State Department said in a readout that Blinken and Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau discussed “the close partnership between the United States and Canada on a wide array of issues.”

Blinken “said that he looks forward to working closely with Canadian Foreign Minister Garneau to revitalize our economies and strengthen the broader North American partnership and to address shared challenges, including COVID-19 and climate change, among many others,” according to the readout. 


Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauIndigenous leadership is a linchpin to solving environmental crises Dalai Lama gets COVID-19 vaccine, touts benefits Biden strikes optimistic tone in meeting with Mexican president MORE was Biden’s first call with a foreign leader.

Blinken also spoke with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, during which the two diplomats “affirmed the enduring strength and importance of the U.S.-ROK Alliance, the linchpin of peace, security, and prosperity for a free and open Indo-Pacific region and across the world,” the readout said, using the acronym for the Republic of Korea.

“Secretary Blinken highlighted the importance of continued trilateral U.S.-ROK-Japan cooperation, underscored the continued need for the denuclearization of North Korea, and stressed President Biden’s commitment to strengthening U.S. alliances.”

The State Department also said Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi “affirmed that the U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity for a free and open Indo-Pacific region and across the globe” and that Blinken and Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard “emphasized our shared interest in security and economic integration, as well as our focus on an orderly and humane approach to migration.”

Biden has repeatedly said he will put a priority on bolstering relationships with foreign nations that were hampered during the Trump administration.

Each of the four diplomats Blinken spoke with Tuesday represented countries that butted heads with former President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE. Canada and Mexico were on the receiving end of tariffs from Washington, and the Trump administration berated Mexico over its immigration policies. Meanwhile, Trump also railed against the U.S.’s trade relationship with Japan and moved to cancel joint military exercises with South Korea.

The secretary of State was the fourth Cabinet official to be confirmed in the Biden administration, following Director of National Intelligence Avril HainesAvril HainesThe intelligence community must evolve with the information age Duckworth calls for Russian bounties intelligence to be declassified Intelligence official says Khashoggi report 'obviously' will challenge Saudi relationship MORE, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinBiden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump Sunday shows: Manchin in the spotlight after pivotal role in coronavirus aid debate Pentagon chief: Response to rocket attack in Iraq will be 'thoughtful' and 'appropriate' MORE and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Senate begins marathon vote-a-rama before .9T COVID-19 relief passage The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Virus relief bill headed for weekend vote Debt to break WWII record by 2031 MORE.