China, which has held off on congratulating US presidential election winner Joe Biden even as leaders of other countries have done so, said on Monday it would follow custom in responding to the result.
Democrat Biden clinched enough states to win the presidency but incumbent President Donald Trump has not conceded and is making legal challenges to the outcome of the Nov. 3 election.
“We noticed that Mr. Biden has declared election victory,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily media briefing.
“We understand that the US presidential election result will be determined following US law and procedures.”
“We always believe that China and the United States should enhance communication and dialogue, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and promote sound and stable development of bilateral relations,” Wang told the briefing.
In 2016, Xi sent congratulations to Trump on Nov. 9, a day after the election.
Relations between China and the United States are at their worst in decades over disputes ranging from technology and trade to Hong Kong and the coronavirus, and the Trump administration has unleashed a barrage of sanctions against Beijing.
While Biden is expected to maintain a tough stance on China — he has called President Xi Jinping a “thug” and vowed to lead a campaign to “pressure, isolate and punish China” — he is likely to take a more measured and multilateral approach, Reuters news agency reported.
Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, said in a tweet: “China hasn’t congratulated Biden on his victory as quickly as Western countries did.”
“I think it’s because China needs to keep larger distance from the US presidential election to avoid getting entangled in its controversy. This actually shows that China respects the US as a whole,” he added.