BEIJING (NewsNation Now) — China on Friday became one of the latest major countries to congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to make few changes to U.S. policy in conflicts with Beijing over trade, technology and security.
China, along with Russia, avoided joining the throng that congratulated Biden last weekend after he and vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris secured enough Electoral College votes to unseat President Donald Trump.
“We respect the choice of the American people,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin. “We congratulate Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.”
Wang gave no reason for the delay but said, “the result will be confirmed according to U.S. laws and procedures.” In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to Trump on Nov. 9, a day after the election.
Trump’s refusal to accept defeat has put Beijing in an awkward position, with China loath to do anything to antagonize Trump, who has mounted court challenges to the balloting and remains in office until the Jan. 20 inauguration.
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.
Most recently, Trump stepped up those sanctions by issuing an order that bars Americans from investing in securities issued by companies U.S. officials say are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.