Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands with U.S Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People on December 4, 2013 in Beijing, China.
China on Friday became one of the last 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.”
U.S.-Chinese relations have plunged to their lowest level in decades amid a tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus, accusations of spying and tension over human rights, the coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong and control of the South China Sea.
Trump labeled China a security threat and imposed export curbs and other sanctions on Chinese companies. On Thursday, he 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.
Forecasters had said even if lost his re-election bid, Trump was likely to try to increase pressure on