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Biden, Canada's Trudeau discuss coronavirus, climate change

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden spoke on Monday, discussing issues such as the coronavirus, climate change and NATO.

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“We’ve worked with each other before, and we’re ready to pick up on that work and tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

Trudeau, one of the first world leaders to congratulate Biden on Saturday after the Democrat secured enough electoral votes to win last week’s presidential election, has had an often uneven relationship with Republican President Donald Trump.

Biden thanked Trudeau for his congratulations and said he looked forward to working closely with Canada to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, revitalize bilateral economic ties, strengthen NATO and combat climate change, according to a statement from Biden’s transition team.

Trudeau also said in his tweet that he discussed the case of two Canadians detained in China with Biden.

The prime minister said earlier that he was confident Biden’s administration would reinforce the message to China that its policy of arbitrarily detaining foreign citizens was not working.

After Canadian police picked up a top Chinese executive on a U.S. arrest warrant in 2018, Beijing imprisoned two Canadian citizens and has since charged them with spying.

“(China’s) approach around coercive diplomacy is ineffective and extremely preoccupying for democratic nations around the world,” Trudeau said in a news conference on Monday.

“I am extremely confident that the incoming American administration will continue to be a good partner to Canada and other nations around the world as we look to impress upon China the approach they are taking is simply not working ... (and) the importance of returning the two Canadians,” Trudeau said.

Other topics during the conversation with Biden included energy, trade and anti-Black racism. “On these and other issues, (we) agreed to keep in touch and work closely together,” the Canadian leader said.

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Paul Simao and Peter Cooney

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