China Congratulates Joe Biden on Election Win After Week of Silence

The Chinese government has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory in last week's presidential election, having delayed doing so for several days even as other foreign nations lined up to support the former vice president.

AFP reported Friday that the Chinese Communist Party had congratulated Biden, following comments by foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a daily press conference in Beijing.

"We respect the American people's choice and extend congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris," Wang told reporters, according to China's state-backed Global Times newspaper.

"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.

Soon after the election Beijing said it was looking to work with the next administration but did not congratulate Biden, though it was clear that Biden has defeated Trump.

On Monday, Wang said China "has taken note of Mr. Biden declaring victory, and we understand that the election results will be confirmed according to related U.S. laws and procedures."

In the run up to the vote, China repeatedly complained that the election had taken on a Sinophobic tone, with both candidates competing to be toughest on Beijing amid the fallout of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump campaign and the president's allies accused China of meddling in the 2020 election in favor of Biden, something Beijing has denied.

Attorney General Bill Barr—a Trump loyalist who has been accused of weaponizing the Department of Justice on behalf of the president—told CNN in September that China was the biggest threat to the U.S. election.

U.S. intelligence officials also warned that China was among those nations seeking to influence the election. William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in August that Beijing "prefers that President Trump—whom Beijing sees as unpredictable—does not win re-election."

"China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China's interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China," Evanina added.

The Trump campaign had accused Biden and his family of conducting business in China, which it said posed a conflict of interests. Trump's own company, however, was revealed to have maintained a Chinese bank account from which he paid some $200,000 in taxes.

Biden has vowed to be tough on China. His policy platform said his administration would be "clear, strong, and consistent in pushing back where we have profound economic, security, and human rights concerns about the actions of China's government."

The president elect said his administration will not see the China challenge as "primarily a military one," though said it "will deter and respond to aggression."

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President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden pay their respects during a Veterans Day stop at the Korean War Memorial Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2020. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images/Getty