China’s president Xi calls Joe Biden to congratulate him on victory

China‘s President Xi Jinping has congratulated Joe Biden for winning the US presidential election, Chinese state media reported Wednesday. 

President Xi expressed his hope for ‘healthy and stable’ development of the China-US relations during a congratulatory phone call on Wednesday, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.

Xi said this was not only in the fundamental interests of the people of both countries, but also the common expectation of the international community.

The Chinese leader called for China and the US to avoid conflicts and confrontations. He also hoped the two nations to uphold the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

The call makes him the latest world leader to speak to the president-elect, and leaves Vladimir Putin as the highest-profile holdout.

Also still to congratulate Biden are Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, a Trump ally and friend, and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a populist leftist who appears to be avoiding last-minute conflict with his departing northern neighbor. 

Message: China's president Xi Jinping became the latest world leader to speak to Joe Biden and called for 'healthy and stable' relations

Message: China's president Xi Jinping became the latest world leader to speak to Joe Biden and called for 'healthy and stable' relations

Message: China’s president Xi Jinping became the latest world leader to speak to Joe Biden and called for ‘healthy and stable’ relations

Xi told Biden that ‘healthy and stable’ relations were ‘the common expectation of the international community,’ according to a statement carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.

‘We hope the two sides will uphold the spirit of non-conflict and non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, will focus on cooperation, control differences and promote healthy and stable development of Chinese-U.S. relations,’ the statement said. 

China’s Vice President Wang Qishan also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her for becoming the US vice-president-elect, Xinhua said.   

Sino-U.S. relations have deteriorated to their worst in decades during incumbent U.S. 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.

China’s foreign ministry congratulated Biden on Nov. 13, nearly a week after many U.S. 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 Nov. 9, a day after that year’s election.

China was part of Trump’s attack on Biden in the closing weeks of the election.

Trump hit out at Biden on his previous China policy positions but also called fora probe into his son Hunter’s business dealings with the country.

Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop contained details of his attempts to make money in deals with the country after his father left office, although he had previously been involved in business there when his father was vice president.

Trump himself was revealed by John Bolton to have asked Xi to help him win in 2020, while the New York Times revealed he had a Chinese bank account and paid tax there – in fact he paid more in tax there than his U.S. income tax in 2016 and 2017.

Xi’s congratulations came after Biden unveiled his foreign policy and national security team.  

Biden faces a challenging task fulfilling his foreign policy vision of the United States reclaiming its global leadership role after years in which the country stepped back and rival powers like China stepped in.

Introducing his national security team that includes veteran diplomats, Biden and his nominees on Tuesday emphasized working to strengthen alliances and multilateralism, ideas that fell out of favor during the ‘America First’ approach of Republican President Donald Trump.

‘It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,’ he told a news briefing in Wilmington, Delaware.

But analysts said that while the incoming Democratic administration could secure quick reversals in areas such as rejoining the Paris climate agreement that Trump abandoned, it would be more difficult reclaiming the global power relinquished by Washington, a trend that started before Trump.

‘Biden, to the extent he reinforces those norms and institutions, will help shore up America’s position,’ St. Lawrence University history professor Howard Eissenstat said.

‘What he cannot do is change the hard reality that the U.S. is no longer that exceptional: Other countries and regions can and will effectively compete in every sphere.’

Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, will be taking on a much different world from the one he left four years ago as Barack Obama’s vice president. China has assumed a larger global role, ranging from multilateral institutions to assisting development in Africa and Latin America.

‘It might start to look an awful lot like Obama 2.0 rather than Biden if it’s talking a big game about returning to Asia but resources are declining,’ said Randall Schriver, who worked as assistant secretary of defense under Trump.

Over the past four years, the United States has taken steps to withdraw from the World Health Organization and pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Trump questioned NATO’s relevance and resisted taking a tough approach against foreign policy rivals such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, moves that raised eyebrows among allies.

The United States and China have been increasingly at odds during the Trump presidency, as the world’s two biggest economies clashed over trade, Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus, and Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

During the election campaign, Biden vowed to take a tough line on China’s expanding influence worldwide, reverse Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord and rejoin the Iran nuclear accord if Tehran resumes strict compliance.

‘We can’t solve all the world’s problems alone’ he said on Tuesday. ‘We need to be working with other countries, we need their cooperation, we need their partnership.’

But current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that ‘multilateralism for the sake of hanging out with your buddies at a cool cocktail party – that’s not in the best interest of the United States of America.’

Citing the defeat of Islamic State militants in Syria and actions to contain China and Iran, Pompeo told Fox News: ‘We work with nations when we have common interests and we develop coalitions that actually deliver real results and reflect the reality on the ground. That wasn’t what was happening when we came in here to the State Department.’  

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