Chinese President Xi Jinping. Picture: REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping. Picture: REUTERS

Beijing  —  Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday congratulated Joe Biden on winning the November 3 US presidential election, voicing hope the two countries could promote a healthy and stable development of bilateral ties, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Sino-US relations have deteriorated to their worst in decades during incumbent US President's Donald Trump's four years in office, with disputes simmering over issues from trade and technology to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.

In his congratulatory message to Biden, Xi said healthy ties between the world's two biggest economies were not only in the fundamental interests of their two peoples but also expected by the international community, Xinhua reported.

Asked to comment, an official of Biden's transition team said: “We appreciate the congratulations from all world leaders who have conveyed them, including President Xi.”

During the election campaign, Biden vowed a tough line on China's expanding influence worldwide and referred to Xi more than once as a “thug” for his human rights practices.

On Tuesday, in formally unveiling his foreign policy team, Biden said allies were looking forward to the US reasserting its historic role as a global leader in the Pacific, where China has been seeking to supplant it as the dominant power.

At the same time, Biden, who is due to take office on January 20, has prioritised progress on issues such as climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and global health, for which he will need Chinese co-operation.

China's foreign ministry congratulated Biden on Nov. 13, nearly a week after many US allies had, holding out as Trump, who is still challenging the election results, refused to concede defeat.

In 2016, Xi sent congratulations to Trump on November 9, a day after that year's election.

Also on Wednesday, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan congratulated Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, on being elected as the next US vice-president, Xinhua said, without providing further details.

In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador again declined to congratulate Joe Biden for winning the US presidential election, making him stand out increasingly among world leaders who have withheld their recognition.

Speaking shortly after Xi congratulated Biden, Lopez Obrador reiterated that it would be wrong to offer congratulations until the electoral process has been formally concluded.

“We do not agree with offering congratulations in advance,” Lopez Obrador told reporters at a regular government news conference. “What's the best thing? For us to wait.”

The Mexican president said he had nothing against any candidate or political party in the US electoral process. Privately, Mexican officials say he is wary of antagonising Trump, who during his presidency threatened to hurt Mexico economically if it did not curb illegal immigration.

The Mexican president said some in his security cabinet suggested in a meeting on Tuesday that it was time to recognise Biden.  


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