XI JINPING AND JOE BIDEN IN WASHINGTON, BACK IN 2012. Photo: JIM WATSON / AFP
As congratulations from world leaders pour in for U.S. election winner Joe Biden and running-mate Kamala Harris, China declined to add its voice to the chorus of well-wishers, saying that the "outcome" of the vote was still to be determined.Donald Trump's turbulent and controversial four-year term as U.S. president resulted in a costly trade war with China and saw regular diplomatic spats between the White House and the ruling Communist Party in Beijing.
But he also routinely praised Chinese president Xi Jinping and other authoritarian leaders around the world, many of whom have yet to acknowledge the loss as Trump refuses to concede defeat.In addition to China, Russia and North Korea have remained silent on the result, which was called late Saturday in Biden's favor. At a routine media briefing in Beijing on Monday, a foreign ministry representative said that the government was "aware" of Biden's declaration of victory in the election, which was made after he pushed past the needed threshold of 270 Electoral College votes. "Our understanding is that the outcome of the election will be determined in accordance with U.S. laws and procedures. We hope that the new US government can meet China halfway," an official spokesperson said, declining repeated questions about Biden’s victory from reporters present. Relations between Beijing and Washington remain at historic lows, with many anti-Trump Chinese observers celebrating his loss.It was not clear why the government did not follow suit.A Biden presidency could have a calming effect on geopolitical tensions, even if some of Beijing's biggest critics think the 77-year-old could be easily played and manipulated by Beijing. Experts previously told VICE News that Biden would "probably restore a semblance of normalcy, diplomacy, and predictability to the relationship between Washington and Beijing".