China has become one of the last major countries to congratulate Joe Biden on being elected U.S. president. Along with Russia and Mexico, which also have testy relations with the U.S., China had appeared to hold off from making any public endorsement of either presidential candidate.
“We respect the choice of the American people,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday local time. “We congratulate Mr. Biden and [vice presidential running mate] Ms. Harris.”
Wang added: “At the same time, the result will be confirmed according to U.S. laws and procedures.” The move came just hours after the state of Arizona was called for Biden and Harris.
U.S. President Donald Trump has spent much of the last week denying that he’s lost the election. He has launched multiple court actions to reverse the result in states that he lost.
Biden and Harris won in Arizona by a margin of just over ten thousand votes, and 49.4% of the votes cast in the state, against Trump’s 49.06%. The state has 11 electoral college votes, giving Biden 290 electoral college votes according to the New York Times, compared with a current 217 for Trump. A total 270 votes is needed to win.
There are 31 electoral college votes remaining, meaning that a Trump defeat is now a certainty unless some of his court actions are successful in reversing the result in multiple states.
Relations between China and the U.S. fell to their worst level for several decades during the Trump era. The two superpowers were engaged in a frosty trade war, and a technology tussle that has involved Chinese firms Huawei, TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat. There have also been geopolitical disputes, notably in the South China Sea and over the political status of Hong Kong.
Throughout the election campaign, Trump also squarely blamed China for the coronavirus outbreak, which has now infected 10.6 million people in the U.S. and killed 242,000.
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