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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Nov. 9)

All News 06:57 November 09, 2020

New start for America
Biden should restore democracy, multilateralism

Democratic candidate Joe Biden emerged as the winner of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election Saturday morning. Despite President Trump's tenacious refusal to concede his defeat, Biden is on course to become the 46th U.S. president. Congratulations on his victory.

Now it is worth noting his victory speech which sent a message of hope and healing. Biden promised "not to divide but unify," trying to embrace Trump supporters who he said are not "our enemies" but "Americans." Domestically the president-elect should do his best to end his predecessor's divisive politics, heal the U.S. and bring Americans together for national unity.

President Trump, for his part, should humbly accept the outcome of the nail-biting race. Otherwise, he could face severer criticism for deepening chaos and uncertainty over the political process. He suffered a painful setback in his bid for a second four-year term. But he must respect Americans' choice. His defiance will only jeopardize democracy and split the country further.

As Biden pointed out, the U.S. has faced multiple crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession, climate change and racial injustice. Overcoming such crises is a daunting task. Some pundits call it "mission impossible." That is why the president-elect should make all-out efforts to exercise his leadership to make a new start for America.

He is expected to put top priority to brining the coronavirus under control. More than 237,000 Americans lost their lives due to Trump's mishandling of the infectious disease which has devastated the U.S. economy. Without defeating COVID-19 the U.S. can never get out of the recession. Biden needs to come up with a large-scale economic stimulus package to help hard-hit businesses, create more jobs and stabilize the people's livelihoods. Yet he must make sure that his vowed policy of raising corporate taxes and protecting workers' rights should not stand in the way of an economic rebound.

What is encouraging is his commitment to return to the U.N.'s Paris climate change agreement from which Trump announced his intent to withdraw. Biden has vowed to re-enter the accord on his first day in office. His move will enable the U.S. to take the lead in the global fight against climate change, while boosting industrial sectors such as renewable energy and clean cars.

Biden will bring significant changes on the international front as well. First of all, he is expected to retake the U.S. global leadership role as a superpower. For this, he will end Trump's unilateral nationalism based on his "America first" agenda. He should keep his promise to restore traditional U.S. diplomacy to strengthen alliances with other countries across the globe to ensure peace, stability and prosperity.

Biden also needs to rebuild the world's free trade system based on multilateralism and reciprocity. He is likely to put the World Trade Organization (WTO) back in place to expand ties with trade partners. This will be a boon for South Korea and other export-oriented economies. However, his hardline stance on China is feared to escalate tensions with Beijing over trade, technology and security. He should take a flexible attitude to solve the problem through dialogue and compromise ― a departure from Trump's focus on sanctions and retaliation.

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