September 23, 2023

Antony J. Blinken of New York speaks during his confirmation hearing to serve as Secretary of State before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2021.

Graeme Jennings | Pool | Reuters

In his first handful of hours, the nation’s new secretary of state spoke to several of America’s closest allies.

Antony Blinken, who was approved by the Senate on Tuesday, spoke to his colleagues from Mexico, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

Blinken, a veteran diplomat, told lawmakers during his confirmation hearings last week that as part of the Trump administration’s “America First” foreign policy, he would focus on reconnecting with America’s allies. President Joe Biden seeks to reset the nation’s relationship with its allies.

The nation’s top diplomat spoke to Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and, according to a statement by State Spokesman Ned Price, stressed “our common interest in security and economic integration and our focus on an orderly and humane approach to migration”.

Mexico is the US’s second largest trading partner and the second largest export market. Under the Trump administration, the US renegotiated the 24-year-old North American trade agreement into what is now the United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA), which supports mutually beneficial trade, freer markets, fairer trade, and one North America leads robust economic growth.

In his interview with Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, the two discussed how “the broader North American partnership can be strengthened and common challenges addressed, including COVID-19 and climate change among others,” the statement said.

The United States and Canada have industrial relations that include defense arrangements, security compliance, and economic competitiveness, with $ 2 billion in goods and services traded daily.

Meanwhile, Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha affirmed “the continued strength and importance of the US-ROK alliance, the linchpin of peace, security and prosperity for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

South Korea donated over 2 million masks and allowed the US to have nearly 750,000 Covid-19 tests. After Biden’s inauguration, the South Korean President congratulated:

North Korea remains an important source of tension in the region. At a debate during the campaign, Biden said he would only meet with Kim Jong Un if the country shrinks its nuclear arsenal.

Blinken’s communication with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi followed a similar theme, emphasizing the need for free and open trade in the Indo-Pacific region.

Blinken was supposed to hold its first press conference from the State Department later on Wednesday.