China issued its first congratulations for the presidential election on Friday, issuing contrasting statements with a fulsome and sharp message from the country’s leader after President Donald Trumpwon four years ago.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “We respect the choice of the American people and we congratulate Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.”
China was one of the last major countries to officially admit that Biden went to the presidential election on Saturday. While Biden now counts 290 electoral votes compared to Trump’s 217, the president has not yet accepted the election, claiming that voter fraud occurred.
Giving no explanation for China’s delay, Wang said, “We understand that the outcome of the US election will be determined according to US laws and procedures.”
President Xi Jinping congratulated Trump on November 9, 2016 – within a day of Trump being declared the winner.
“I attach great importance to Sino-American relations and look forward to working with you,” reported Xinhua report.
Leaders of America’s traditional allies attended Saturday to congratulate Biden, welcoming a new era of American leadership in world affairs after a four-year convention-smash.
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Biden has started a series of calls this week with foreign leaders including South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihida Suga.
In addition to China, there have been notable delays in congratulations from Russia, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, whose leaders have enjoyed close ties with Trump’s White House. The leaders of Russia and Brazil have not yet issued messages of congratulations.
Prior to the election, China said it does not wish to be involved in other countries’ internal affairs.
Relations between China and the US have grown rapidly, with the world’s two largest economies placed under prolonged trade tensions, which were recently taken over by tech companies Huawei and Tiktok.
But when Trump’s rhetoric towards China turned sour, Biden also agreed to take a tight line, referring to Zee previously as a “thug”.
Issues surrounding the coronavirus epidemic, arms sales to Taiwan, territorial claims in the South China Sea and Beijing’s growing international outspokenness are likely to continue on Biden’s agenda.
Analysts expect the Biden presidency to focus on the human rights abuses of the Uygars, ban Muslim autonomy and Hong Kong autonomy in China’s Xinjiang region, and return the US to the path of multilateralism.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.