Congratulations pours in as Joe Biden is sworn in as US 46th president

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Joseph Biden Jr. has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States seeking unity after a tumultuous four years of profound economic, health and political crises that tore at the fabric of American society.

With his hand on a five-inch-thick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Biden recited the 35-word oath of office swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” in a ceremony administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., completing the process shortly before noon.

Kamala Harris was also sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, her hand on a Bible that once belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights icon and Supreme Court justice. Harris’s ascension made her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States and the first Black American and first person of South Asian descent to hold the nation’s second highest office.

“This is America’s day,” Biden said as he began his Inaugural Address. “This is democracy’s day.”

After a deeply turbulent transition, including the storming of the Capitol by supporters of now-former President Donald J. Trump, “democracy has prevailed,” Biden said, in a speech that immediately laid out the contrast between himself and his predecessor.

“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now,” Mr. Biden said, before explicitly acknowledging the devastating toll of the coronavirus in a way Mr. Trump never did.

“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words,” Biden added. “It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.”

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” he said. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path,” he said. “Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”

Meanwhile, the Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen said in a statement: “President Tsai wishes the new Biden administration smooth policy implementation, and looks forward to building on the strong foundation of the Taiwan-US partnership to further our bilateral collaboration, as well as the prosperity of, and friendship between, the people of both countries.”

Read Also: Trump leaves White House, say ‘We’ll see each other again’

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written a letter to the new president. “Strong American leadership will make a decisive difference to our collective recovery and the shape of the post-COVID-19 world.”

“There is a deep reservoir of goodwill for the US in our region, because of the vital role the United States has played anchoring regional stability and economic prosperity for over half a century.”

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took to Twitter to say: “Congratulations to President @JoeBiden and Vice President @KamalaHarris on your inauguration. Japan and the United States are allies tied firmly by bonds and shared universal values. I look forward to working with you and your team to reinforce our alliance and to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”