China congratulates Joe Biden on US presidential election victory

13 November 2020, 15:45

China has finally congratulated Joe Biden for being elected US President (File photo: 04/12/13)
China has finally congratulated Joe Biden for being elected US President (File photo: 04/12/13). Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

China has become one of the last major world powers to congratulate Joe Biden for winning the US election.

The Far East nation was joined by Russia in choosing not to congratulate the president-elect last weekend after projections showed he had secured enough electoral college votes to win the White House.

However, on Friday, the superpower finally commented on the 3 November election result.

"We respect the choice of the American people," said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

"We congratulate Mr Biden and (vice presidential running mate) Ms (Kamala) Harris."

The foreign ministry spokesman offered no insight into why China delayed its recognition of Mr Biden as president-elect but acknowledged "the result will be confirmed according to US laws and procedures".

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Russia is yet to offer its congratulations to the Democrat despite being among the first countries to do so for Donald Trump in 2016 and its swift acknowledgement of this year's election result in Belarus, which has been widely disputed as fraudulent.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier this week that his government will delay any congratulations until the US election results are finalised.

Speaking to the media, he said: “Anticipating your possible question about Putin congratulating the US president-elect, I want to say the following: we consider it correct to wait for the official summing up of the results of the elections.”

He added: “I want to remind you that President Putin has repeatedly said that he will show respect for any choice of the American people and that he will be ready to work with any president-elect of the United States.”

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China's decision to delay could be due to its government being mired in a tariff war with the Trump administration over Beijing's technology ambitions and trade surplus.

The US leader has also called China a security threat and imposed export curbs and other sanctions on Chinese companies.

Political analysts expect few changes under a Biden administration due to widespread frustration with Beijing's trade record, human rights issues and accusations of spying and technology theft.