“We respect the choice of the American people,” said Beijing Foreign Spokesperson Wang Wenbin.
China on Friday sent its congratulations to the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, and the future vice president, Kamala Harris, a week after they both delivered their victory speech in the US elections. With his message, Beijing joins governments such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan or South Korea that had already congratulated the Democratic team.
“We respect the choice of the American people and convey our congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at his department’s daily press conference. “We understand that the election result will be decided according to US laws and procedures.”
Last Saturday Biden already considered that he had enough votes in the American electoral college to be proclaimed president, after several media in his country declared him the winner. But the current tenant of the White House, Donald Trump, has not accepted defeat and has wanted to file lawsuits over alleged irregularities in the count in several states, especially in Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Throughout this week, China had avoided commenting on those elections, waiting for the final results to be announced. It has finally done so after Arizona definitively fell from the Democratic side, as Biden’s advantage in the recount was greater than the number of votes left to count. The victory in Arizona finished securing the victory of the Democrat. With the representatives in the electoral college of that state, the future president does not need those from Pennsylvania or Georgia to cross the threshold of 270 required for inauguration.
China has been very careful to avoid positioning itself in the US elections. In the eyes of its government, the United States is a declining power that wants to avoid at all costs that China ends up surpassing it. He believes that whichever candidate wins, Washington will continue that policy.
Although during Trump’s term, bilateral relations between the two great world powers fell to their lowest level in four decades, some sectors in Beijing did not look down on the Republican’s reelection. Their policy of confrontation with their allies and withdrawal from multilateral institutions, they believe, has left a void on the global stage that China can occupy, and has contributed to accelerating the rise of this country.
Biden, according to various analysts of the Asian giant, may introduce cosmetic changes in the relationship to alleviate the deterioration suffered during the last two years of Trump’s mandate, and perhaps renegotiate the agreement that ended the trade war between the two countries. But it is more likely, they believe, that the new president can create a front with other countries to counter the strength of China.
The respected former Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, currently a member of an advisory body of parliament, reiterated that position on Friday. “Even if Biden is elected, it will be inevitable that the United States (tries) to stop China,” the politician was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Lou called for pragmatism in the trade relationship of the first two economic powers, and pointed out that it is difficult for the United States to cut its trade deficit – the origin of the dispute between the two countries – given the position of the dollar as the dominant global currency. “After four years, the trade deficit (with China) continues to open. We need to get back to common sense and science. Everyone has to be reasonable, ”he added.