China congratulates Biden but without addressing as ‘President-elect’

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China congratulates Biden but without addressing as ‘President-elect’ - We The World

China congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Friday, for their projected win of the November 3 elections, but it has a subtle hint of diplomacy.

China’s congratulations to the highly contested US Presidential election came a week after major US media projected Joe Biden as the winner, which Donald Trump is yet to accept.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it respects the choice of the American people and extended the congratulations of the country to the President and Vice President.

“We have been watching the domestic and international reaction to the US presidential election, and we respect the choices of the Americans,” a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin was quoted as saying by Global Times — China’s state-owned media.

“We extend congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, and we also understand that the US election result will be decided in accordance with US laws and procedures,” Wang said at Friday’s media briefing. 

The global media quickly picked up Beijing’s salutation to the US President-elect, with Washington Post writing: “China finally congratulates Joe Biden, Kamala Harris on election victory”

But turns out China has been cautious, rather subtly cautious while saluting Biden and Harris for their projected win.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University said China’s congratulations were not the one from Chinese leaders to Biden and Harris.

Turned out, China’s congratulations was carefully coded to match the current and chaotic political scene in the US.

Instead of addressing Biden as President-elect, the Chinese foreign ministry chose to use the salutation ‘Mr.’ to address Biden who has been addressed as President-elect by major US and world media, the professor noted.

“On the one hand, China acknowledged that Biden and Harris have taken a clear advantage in the election; on the other hand, China also showed respect to President Trump and his voters, who are still challenging the result with lawsuits and other measures,” Li Haidong was quoted as saying.

Traditionally, China has congratulated the US President-elect addressing with the same salutation, once the opposition candidate has delivered the conceding speech.

But in the case of the 2020 US Presidential election, incumbent President Donald Trump is yet to concede Biden’s victory. Trump has instead disputed the election and has unleashed a sea of legal lawsuits to overturn the game on him.

The Sino-US relations

Sino-US ties in recent years have worsened far more than it had in the past decades. The Trump administration under President Donald Trump had adopted what they say is a ‘tough’ stance against China. The pandemic has aggravated what is already meant.

From tariff wars to technological backlashes, the US has been anything but considerate to China under Trump — something China apparently did not see coming.

Washington’s accused China of spying that soured the relationship, while developments in Hong Kong and the South China Sea have been tipping points of further degrading Sino-US relations.

Just recently Trump issued an executive order to prevent Americans from investing in what the US says are military-owned Chinese security companies, adding on to the flurry of trade sanctions his administration has signed against China.

But forecasters see Biden as a pacifying model in some key US-China relations like climate change, security in North Korea, Iran, and the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

The AP noted, China has been largely silent on this year’s elections as compared to the one in 2016 that Trump won, because Hillary Clinton — who was the Secretary of State under Obama — helped the then President to implement the foreign policies, including pressurizing China over human rights violations.

China’s diplomatic congratulations to the US President-elect is retaliation to provocations that the Trump Administration has unleashed, China’s state-owned Global Times says.

The more Trump will provoke China, more connections and recognitions will be made to Biden’s team “as this could minimize the damage that the Trump administration would bring to China-US relations, and also distance the crazy remarks made by officials like Pompeo from the official US stance.”

And President Trump has been forecasted to increase pressure on Beijing, the AP says, even before he leaves the office in 2021, January 20.

China was a handful of other nations that refrained from congratulating Biden and Harris, including Brazil, Russia among a few others, who’re apparently awaiting the US political dust to settle.

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