In an interview with NBC News/Today, aired on Tuesday morning in the US, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of the special relationship between London and Washington, highlighting how he and the President share similar goals on tackling climate change.
“It is the job of any Prime Minister of the UK to have a good relationship with the President of the United States,” Mr Johnson told NBC News. “That applies to Donald Trump. It applies to Joe Biden.
“But what I will say about Joe Biden, dealing with the new American president, yes, it is a breath of fresh air in the sense that there are some things on which we can really, really work together.
“He wants to cut CO2. He wants to get to net zero by 2050. And he shares, with me, a basic view that you can do this without penalising the economy.”
There are also signals from Washington that Mr Biden was preparing to use a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York to commit more US money to the international climate fund championed by Mr Johnson.
But Mr Johnson admitted that making progress on a UK-US trade deal was less likely with Mr Biden focused on handling America’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic… a blow to the UK’s post-Brexit global trading ambitions.
“The reality is that Joe has a lot of fish to fry,” Mr Johnson said before arriving in New York for the White House talks and the UN summit. “We want to do it, but what we want is a good FTA [free trade agreement], a great FTA. And I have quite a lot of experience of American negotiations, and they are pretty ruthless, the American negotiators. I would much rather get a deal that really works for the UK than get a quick deal.”
On China’s angry reaction to the new “Aukus” security partnership between the US, Britain and Australia, which will allow the latter to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, Mr Johnson rejected accusations from Beijing that it was a provocative move, with claims also that Canberra should expect the worst.
The Prime Minister said: “I think that’s ridiculous. And there’s no need whatsoever for anybody to construe this as adversarial towards them. This is about technology transfer.”