The Chinese government has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory in last week’s presidential election after delaying it for several days despite other foreign nations queuing up to support the former vice president.
AFP reported on Friday that the Chinese Communist Party congratulated Biden after Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin spoke at a daily press conference in Beijing.
“We respect the decision of the American people and congratulate Mr. Biden and Mrs. Harris,” Wang told reporters, according to China’s state-supported newspaper, the Global Times.
“We also understand that the U.S. election result will be decided in accordance with U.S. laws and procedures,” he added, referring to President Donald Trump’s ongoing legal battle against the result.
Shortly after the election, Beijing declared that it wanted to cooperate with the next government, but did not congratulate Biden, although it was clear that Biden had defeated Trump.
On Monday, Wang said that China “has taken note of Biden’s victory statement and we expect the election results to be confirmed in accordance with the relevant U.S. laws and procedures.
In the run-up to the vote, China repeatedly complained that the election had taken a sinophobic tone, with both candidates vying to be the toughest in Beijing amid the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Trump campaign and the president’s allies accused China of interfering in the 2020 elections in favor of Biden, which Beijing denied.
Attorney General Bill Barr – a Trump loyalist accused of arming the Justice Department on behalf of the President – told CNN in September that China posed the greatest threat to the U.S. election.
U.S. intelligence officials also warned that China is one of the nations trying to influence the election. William Evanina, director of the National Center for Counterintelligence and Security, said in August that Beijing “prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing considers unpredictable – does not win the re-election”.
“China has expanded its influence efforts in the run-up to November 2020 to shape the political environment in the United States, put pressure on political figures it sees as contrary to China’s interests, and fend off and counter criticism of China,” Evanina added.
The Trump campaign had accused Biden and his family of doing business in China, which in her opinion was a conflict of interest. Trump’s own company was revealed, however, that it maintained a Chinese bank account from which he paid about $200,000 in taxes.
Biden vowed to take tough action against China. His political program said his government would be “clear, strong and consistent in striking back where we have deep economic, security and human rights concerns about the Chinese government’s actions.
The President-elect said his government would not see China’s challenge as “primarily a military challenge,” although it would “deter and respond to aggression.