China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday refused to officially congratulate former Vice President Joe Biden after he declared himself the winner of the ongoing U.S. presidential election over the weekend.
At a regularly scheduled press conference on November 9, the U.S. cable news outlet CNN asked Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin why China had yet to offer an official congratulatory message to Biden after “most American media” declared his victory in the election.
“[L]eaders of many countries have sent congratulatory messages to him. Why has China been dilatory in making statements? Is it because you think the outcome of the US presidential election is still uncertain, or do you have other considerations? When will China send a congratulatory message?” CNN asked Wenbin.
“On your first question, we noticed that Mr. Biden has declared election victory. We understand the presidential election result will be determined following the U.S. laws and procedures,” Wenbin responded.
“On your second question, we will follow international customary practices,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman continued.
“We always believe China and the United States should strengthen communication and dialogue, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, expand cooperation based on mutual benefit, and promote the sound and stable development of China-U.S. relations,” he said.
“We hope the new U.S. government can meet China halfway,” Wengbin added, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
China remains among a handful of major nations, including Russia and Mexico, that have so far chosen not to offer official messages of congratulation to Biden.
Initial results from the U.S. presidential election on November 3 showed U.S. President Donald Trump held a lead over his challenger, Biden. Trump lead in key states as polls closed on election night. By the morning of November 4, however, Trump’s lead had diminished due to mounting mail-in ballots favoring Biden, observers said. Several U.S. states expanded mail-in voting for the presidential election this year in response to the ongoing Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Since November 4, Republicans have protested the election results in some states, claiming that legally authorized poll watchers have allegedly been prevented from observing the ballot counting process at designated centers. The Trump administration claimed it has received reports of voter fraud in multiple states.
Trump’s legal team has filed lawsuits in some states to halt the ballot counting process after Election Day and to demand a recount of the vote; the president’s lawyers are currently organizing an official legal challenge to the alleged voter fraud. Trump vowed in a speech at the White House on November 5 that his legal team would pursue the challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
“This election is not over,” Trump 2020 Campaign General Counsel Matt Morgan said in a statement on November 6.