World reacts to U.S. midterm elections
Russia sees 'no bright prospects' for normalizing ties, while Canadian PM hails number of women elected
World reaction to Tuesday's U.S. midterm elections, resulting in Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives and Republicans holding onto the Senate, include the following:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday tweeted his congratulations to the winning candidates and highlighted the record number of women American voters elected for the House.
Trudeau said the Canadian government would continue to work "in friendship and partnership" with lawmakers in Congress and in states across the U.S.
Congratulations to the winners in last night’s US elections, including the historic number of women who will sit in the next House. Canada’s government will always work in friendship & partnership with our neighbo(u)rs to the South – in Congress and in states across the country.—@JustinTrudeau
Trade, especially the recently struck United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the fate of the Trump administration's painful tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, remained top of mind for Canadian industry leaders following the midterms.
Trade expert Lawrence Herman said the Democrats' majority victory in the U.S. House means the ratification of the deal may have to wait well into 2019, although he expects the pact to eventually gain congressional approval.
But Herman warned there's a risk the agreement in principle could crumble, especially if Democrats decide the deal's passage isn't politically advantageous for their party.
Meanwhile, Unifor president Jerry Dias, whose union represents autoworkers, said now that the midterms are over, Canadian MPs from all parties must apply more pressure to remove tariffs of 10 per cent on aluminum produced outside the U.S. and 25 per cent on steel that he said were imposed to score political points with the Republican base.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it saw no prospects for an improvement in relations between Russia and the United States.
"We can say with a large amount of confidence that of course no bright prospects for normalizing Russian-American relations can be seen on the horizon," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
Peskov said it was up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump to continue dialogue.
The two leaders will meet briefly in Paris next week, Peskov said on Tuesday, and could have a longer meeting at the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of the month.
Trump has sought better ties with Russia, but the two countries are at odds over the civil war in Syria, a nuclear arms treaty and U.S. allegations of election meddling.
Bill Browder, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Magnitsky Act, celebrated the defeat of California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher — who sought to overturn it. The act allows the U.S. government to punish Russia for human rights violations by freezing assets and denying entry visas. Canada has since enacted its own version of the law, as have several other countries.
BREAKING: Putin loses proxy war in Orange County as his minion Dana Rohrabacher is defeated by Harley Rouda. Rohrabacher was the main person in Congress who determinedly tried to get the Magnitsky Act repealed. A good day for truth and justice. Good riddance <a href="https://t.co/HSNGkIVRux">https://t.co/HSNGkIVRux</a>—@Billbrowder
Michael Oren, Israel's deputy cabinet minister for public diplomacy and a former ambassador to Washington, says the results made it more likely that President Donald Trump would turn to international diplomacy to reach a deal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Oren told The Associated Press: "There is no issue which would have greater reverberations, not just on the right but in the centre and maybe even on parts of the left [than] resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue."
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He said the results have a two-pronged influence on Israel. The first is to view the Democratic retaking of the House as an opportunity for Israel to reach out again to Democrats and liberal Jews who perceive the Jewish state as enthusiastically praising Trump. The second is to try and push for as many concrete solutions to its chief concerns — Iran, Syria and the Palestinians — while Trump remains in the White House.
Nabil Shaath, the international affairs adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the result of the elections "indicate a possibility of a change in American policy eventually."
"The Democrats in the United States are getting closer to a position that may lead eventually to a peace process in the area, whereas Trump's policy has really been a very difficult one to understand, it does not get us anywhere closer to a peace process," he said.
China says the relationship between the world's two largest economies is so important that interests on both sides will continue pushing for co-operation regardless of the outcome of U.S. elections.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying declined to comment directly on the outcome but said "regardless of the result ... we believe the two governments and the two peoples all want to maintain the sound and steady development of bilateral relations because we believe it is in the best interests of the international community."
Trump has slapped punitive tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S. and threatened billions more. China has retaliated with tariffs on soybeans and other key U.S. exports.
Hua says China looks forward to a meeting between Trump and President Xi Jinping later this month at a G-20 summit in Argentina.
German Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas called for greater co-operation among European countries to counter Trump's policies, and hoped Democrats would have greater influence with their control of the House.
"We must find an answer to the motto 'America First' on this side of the Atlantic — and to me, and to us, it's clear that the response can only be 'Europe United,'" he told reporters Wednesday. "We Europeans must co-operate even more closely, which also means investing more into our own ability to act. That applies when it's about fighting back punitive tariffs and it applies to security issues or the fight against climate change.
"I do expect the Democrats to use their newly gained power to influence White House policy. We'll see to what extent that has an impact. We hope that this co-operation will be constructive and lead to constructive results in international politics. We will very intensively look to contact those who were newly elected."
The European Union's deputy chief executive hailed Democratic victories in the midterms in comments that took a clear swipe at what he called "rudeness" and "racism" under Trump.
"Inspired by voters in the U.S. who chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination," tweeted Frans Timmermans, a former Dutch foreign minister who is first vice-president of the European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker.
"They stood up for their values. And so will we," he added.
Inspired by voters in the US who chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination. They stood up for their values. And so will we.—@TimmermansEU
Campaigning is getting under way in Europe for May elections to the European Parliament, in which Timmermans is leading the campaign for the centre-left.
A fellow Socialist commissioner, former French finance minister Pierre Moscovici who oversees economic affairs, also tweeted an ironic comment about Trump, who had earlier declared on Twitter that the election was a "tremendous success."
"The Democrats win the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years despite powerful Republican gerrymandering," Moscovici wrote. "Donald Trump is right: 'Tremendous success tonight.'"
There was no immediate official comment from Juncker or the commission.
Italy's right-wing deputy premier has tweeted his congratulations to Trump for the results of the midterm elections, saying they went "against everything and everyone" pushing for a Democratic wave.
Matteo Salvini, a populist who also serves as Italy's interior minister, shares some of Trump's anti-migrant, nationalist leanings.
Salvini wrote "godonaldgo" and "Compliments to president Trump for the seats conquered in the Senate and the confirmation in crucial states, against everything and everyone: leftist journalists, actors and singers, directors and pseudo-intellectuals."
Japanese officials say their alliance with the United States remains unshakable regardless of U.S. election results.
Japan's deputy chief cabinet secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters Wednesday that Japan-U.S. alliance is "unwavering" despite mixed election results for the president.
Nishimura said Japan will co-operate with the U.S. in efforts to denuclearize North Korea and in other areas.
He said, however, Japan won't compromise on trade against its national interest if there is any change in a political climate in the U.S.
With files from Reuters and The Canadian Press