Bill Clinton bullish on a Joe Biden presidency

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Bill Clinton bullish on a Joe Biden presidency

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks virtually at the opening ceremony of the 15th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity on Friday. [JEJU FORUM]

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks virtually at the opening ceremony of the 15th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity on Friday. [JEJU FORUM]

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said a Joe Biden presidency could return the United States to multilateralism and combatting climate change.
 
“We just had an election, and it will have consequences and the consequences for multilateralism could be very positive,” Clinton said during the 2020 Jeju Forum Friday.
 
He joined in virtually for the first plenary session of the 15th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity with former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong and former Prime Minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong to discuss the theme of “How to Reinvent Multilateral Cooperation in the Midst of Pandemic.”  
 
Speaking before Biden was designated president-elect, Clinton said on the Democratic nominee, “I believe that he will join the Paris accord — and his climate change program is very robust, at the core of his whole economic strategy.”
 
U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change in 2017.  
 
Clinton also referred to independent studies by Moody’s Analytics and Goldman Sachs detailing that Biden’s plan will add seven to eight million more jobs in four years than Trump’s plan, “primarily because of its investments in the efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
 
Clinton added, “I am very hopeful that the United States will begin to manage this Covid thing better, and it will come out of it, and the world will learn from Covid how to strengthen our public health systems, our supply chains all over the world, and that we will now be thinking about how are we going to construct a post-Covid economy.”
 
He added, “Carbon emissions have gone down in many countries that have had a big Covid problem because economic activity has been reduced, but we need to build a post-Covid economy based on doing all the things it would take to build a successful fight against climate change to avoid its most cataclysmic consequences.”  
 
Initially scheduled for late May, the Jeju Forum had been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The three-day forum convened in a hybrid in-person and virtual format under the theme of “Reinventing Multilateral Cooperation: Pandemic and Humane Security.”
 
Ban during his address at the opening ceremony Friday said, “I was really, really disappointed, even angry, when there was an announcement by President Trump that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the climate change agreement. It was just after a few months after the unanimous adoption of this by the international community.”  
 
Noting the prospect that Biden may be elected president, Ban continued, “I am also happy that he had already declared that he would immediately return to the Paris climate change agreement and invest $2 trillion to resuscitate, first of all political will as well as economic adaptation. In this connection, I believe that the whole international community must work together to take concrete action to help combat our climate emergency.”
 
Ban also lauded the Korean government for saying it will declare net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  
 
During his virtual address at the opening ceremony, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Political leaders around the world need to come together to address the world's fragilities, strengthen our capacity for global governance and draw from the power of unity and solidarity to overcome the biggest test of all times,” as he stressed the need for stronger multilateralism.  
 
President Moon Jae-in stressed Korea’s commitment to the international community’s efforts to tackle climate change in a keynote address during the opening ceremony via video.
 
“By investing over 73 trillion won [$65 billion] in total in Green New Deal for climate action and greener economy until 2030, Korea will continue to walk unwaveringly toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Moon.
 
He added, “I hope that next year’s P4G Summit will serve as an important occasion to strengthen global unity and step up action to build back better and greener.”
 
Moon noted that the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice agreement rather than a peace treaty.  
 
“Korea will never cease its efforts to end the war for good, achieve denuclearization and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said Moon. “I want to stress once again that peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia as a whole cannot be achieved without peace on the Korean Peninsula.”  
 
BY SARAH KIM   [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
 

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