China became one of the last major countries to congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on his projected victory over President Donald Trump.
“We respect the choice of the American people. We extend congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. (Kamala) Harris,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily meeting with reporters on Friday.
Wang gave no reason for the delay but said, “The result will be confirmed according to U.S. laws and procedures.”
Biden was named the winner as ballot counting continued. Soon after, world leaders from Europe to the Middle East and Asia called to offer their congratulations.
Brazil, North Korea and Russia have yet to recognize Biden’s victory and China did not do so until today. In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to Trump on November 9, the day after the election.
Since Trump took office, U.S.-Chinese relations have worsened with a trade war over imported goods and technology. Other areas of disagreement include the South China Sea, human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and the coronavirus health crisis.
This week, Trump ordered a ban on Americans investing in businesses with ties to the Chinese military. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said “Taiwan has not been a part of China” and that has been recognized by the U.S. since the Reagan administration in the 1980s.
The Chinese state-run Global Times wrote in an editorial Friday that the “two events show that the Trump administration will go into its ‘final madness’ against China.”
The paper also said earlier “China should not harbor any illusions that Biden's election will ease…China-US relations.” And it added, “The US is unlikely to ease the pressure on China on key issues.”
During the presidential campaign, Biden signaled he wanted to keep pressure on China. He wrote in Foreign Affairs, “The United States does need to get tough with China.”
Biden wanted “to build a united front of U.S. allies and partners to confront China’s abusive behaviors and human rights violations.” But he would seek to cooperate with China on issues “such as climate change, nonproliferation, and global health security.”
As president-elect, Biden has since made promises to leaders of Asia-Pacific nations, including South Korea, Japan, and Australia.
Biden’s relations with Asia-Pacific nations
During the campaign, Biden wrote to the Yonhap News Agency: “As President, I'll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond.”
This week, the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Biden repeated his promise to defend the nation during their 14-minute phone call. The two also agreed to meet “possibly soon” after Biden would take office on January 20.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also said he invited Biden to Australia next year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the countries’ shared defense treaty.
Biden’s office said he looked forward to working closely with Morrison on many issues. These include efforts to maintain “a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”
Australia is taking part in a large military exercise with the U.S., Japan and India this month for the first time since 2007. Australia had withdrawn from the yearly exercises over concerns about relations with China.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters that he spoke with Biden this week for about 15 minutes. He said the two agreed to deepen their countries’ alliance in the face of China’s growing influence and North Korea’s nuclear threat.
China has built and added weapons to man-made islands in the South China Sea. It has also claimed the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Suga added that Biden promised to protect Japan’s territorial rights to the Senkaku Islands in case of a military clash.
China and India have long been involved in a dispute over their 3,400 kilometer border. The two countries went to war in 1962. This year, a clash along the border killed 20 Indian soldiers in June.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter that the victory of Kamala Harris, Biden’s vice presidential candidate, is a matter of pride for all Indian-Americans. He added, “I am confident…India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership.”
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Hai Do wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
procedure –n. an established and accepted way of doing something
harbor –v. to holding in your mind for a long time
illusion –n. an incorrect idea, and idea based on something that is not true
key –adj. extremely important
confront –v. to oppose in a direct forceful way
nonproliferation –n. the act of stopping the production of nuclear and chemical weapons or of limiting the number of nuclear and chemical weapons in the world
confident –adj. the belief that something will happen
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