Chinese President Xi Jinping publicly congratulated Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States, leaving Vladimir Putin among a handful of world leaders who have yet to recognize the former vice president’s victory.
“Xi said he hopes the two sides will respect the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” according to a statement from the Chinese Embassy in Washington on Wednesday.
The statement added that Xi hoped the two sides “will focus on cooperation, deal with differences, advance the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations, and join other countries and the international community to promote the noble cause of the world. peace and development ”.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan also sent a congratulatory message to Kamala Harris, the US Vice President-elect.
“We appreciate the congratulations from all of the world leaders who conveyed them, including President Xi,” said a Biden transition official.
Although these notes are generally part of normal diplomatic protocols, President Donald Trump has yet to concede the election, and Xi has been slow to offer his personal congratulations to the president-elect.
The Chinese government officially congratulated Mr. Biden on November 13, nearly a week after he was widely recognized as the winner of the November 3 presidential election.
A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said at the time that Beijing “respects the choice of the American people” and congratulated Mr. Biden, but did not call him president-elect.
Mr Putin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are among a handful of world leaders who have yet to congratulate Mr Biden.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that Mr Trump’s tweet on Monday announcing the start of official transitional transfer protocols was “not enough” to justify Mr Putin’s congratulations.
“You know that reviews and reporting in some states are still going on, without which election results cannot be officially announced,” Peskov said, according to Interfax.
After a fury Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia dashed hopes in Moscow of a thaw with Washington, the Kremlin is pessimistic that ties will improve with Mr. Biden, whose future cabinet includes several Russian hawks.
“Anyone who finds himself in the White House after January 20, 2021, I see no reason to hope for a dynamic improvement in Russian-American relations,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday, according to the news agency. press Tass.
Chinese analysts said Xi’s government initially feared angering Trump, who may take steps to further undermine strained bilateral ties before stepping down on January 20.
The Trump administration has placed antagonism with China at the heart of its foreign policy, on issues ranging from trade and defense to Hong Kong and the coronavirus. He had classified China as a “great power competitor” amid a series of abrasive actions, which led some to speculate that a new Cold War was underway.
“The game has now started; the first domino has fallen, ”said Evan Medeiros, who was Barack Obama’s senior advisor on Asia-Pacific, of the congratulatory message, characterizing the effort to manage U.S. relations with China as one of the biggest challenges facing the Biden administration. “Let’s see what happens,” he said.
Bipartisan support for a tougher U.S. posture against China has led many to believe that the Biden administration will pursue a harder line against Beijing than the Obama administration. Biden called Xi a “thug” and said the United States must “get tough” on China.
Biden officials have also suggested that the US approach must combine cooperation, competition and confrontation. Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s choice for national security adviser, said in an article he co-authored last year that the United States must avoid “a dangerous cycle of confrontation” with China .
Antony Blinken, Mr. Biden’s candidate for secretary of state, said any effort to decouple from China would be unrealistic and counterproductive, and suggested developing areas of cooperation on climate, nuclear non-proliferation and health.
A former Obama administration official said that emphasizing US intentions to avoid a cold war, however, risked “leveraging” China.
“[Some argue] in very practical and tangible terms, there isn’t really much that China is offering us on climate and Covid other than rhetorical support, and what we really need to do is mend our alliances, grow our posture in Asia, to come together at home and then from this foundation, pursue a more competitive approach with China, ”said the former official.
In December 2016, Chinese officials were furious when Mr. Trump, then president-elect, took a phone call of President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the autonomous island that Beijing claims to be part of its sovereign territory. Mr. Xi did not speak with Mr. Trump until after his inauguration.
In his first phone call with Mr. Xi in February 2017, Mr. Trump reiterated his administration’s support for “Chinese policyThat Washington has maintained since the formal establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979.