China on Friday congratulated United States President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris about a week after they won the country’s elections, AFP reported.
“We respect the choice of the American people,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing. “We express our congratulations to Mr [Joe] Biden and Ms [Kamala] Harris.”
China was among a few countries, including Mexico and Russia, to not congratulate Biden for winning the presidency. On Monday, China had said that it has taken note of Biden’s declaration of winning the presidential elections but was holding off from congratulating the president-elect.
“We understand that the presidential election result will be determined following US laws and procedures,” Wenbin had said, adding that China would follow international practices in extending its sentiments.
China’s change of stance follows Biden’s pledges of support for allies of the US in the Asia-Pacific region – a step that could have urged China to open its lines of communications with the president-elect, according to The Washington Post.
Biden’s discussion with Japan about territories claimed by China, in particular, could have forced Beijing to change its stance, according to the newspaper. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had on Thursday said that the president-elect gave his “commitment” that America’s pledge to defend Japan would include the Senkaku Islands. China also claims the islands, which it calls the Diaoyu Islands.
Democrat nominee Biden had emerged as the winner on November 7 over Republican incumbent Donald Trump in the presidential elections. Biden, who now leads by more than five million (over 50 lakh) in the popular vote, cemented his victory by winning Arizona.
Trump, however, has refused to concede and is challenging counting in several districts. In a series of tweets, the incumbent president renewed his claims of electoral fraud without providing conclusive evidence. “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?” Trump said, deriding the US media. “We have all learned a lot in the last two weeks.”