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China, Russia, others holding off congratulating Biden as Trump disputes votes in battleground states

Then-Vice President Biden and Chinese President Xi, Sept. 25, 2015. (State Department photo/ Public Domain)
November 09, 2020

The leaders of China and Russia are among that of a number of nations leaders who have kept quiet about the 2020 U.S. election after several media outlets called the race for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Saturday. President Donald Trump has continued to raise legal challenges to the race and the electoral college vote results have not yet been certified.

While the leaders of various countries allied with the U.S. have congratulated Biden and his vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris some countries have declined to congratulate any candidate until the U.S. election results are finalized. The leaders of China, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey and Slovenia are among the countries, that have signaled they will wait for election disputes to be resolved before offering any congratulations.

Reuters reported daily media briefing that Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “We noticed that Mr. Biden has declared election victory. We understand that the U.S. presidential election result will be determined following U.S. law and procedures.”

In the U.S., media outlets may project winners of various elections such as the presidential election, but the results are not final until states certify their election results and appoint electoral college electors to cast their votes for the president.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to Trump on Nov. 9, 2016, the day after the U.S. election. Then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had conceded the race. Trump, by contrast, has not conceded the 2020 election and has raised legal challenges and calls for recounts in several states where Biden holds a narrow lead.

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The Associated Press reported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “Obviously, you can see that certain legal procedures are coming there, which were announced by the incumbent president — therefore this situation is different, so we consider it correct to wait for the official announcement.”

An August U.S. intelligence report assessed Russian interests in denigrating candidate Joe Biden, while China preferred to denigrate Trump. Putin recently said he’d work with either U.S. candidate elected and said similarities between the Democratic Party platform and Soviet-era communism an “ideological basis” to work with Biden.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Saturday he would not congratulate a winner of the U.S. presidential election until legal challenges are concluded. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodağan have also withheld their congratulations.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa also addressed ongoing election disputes, in a translated tweet, saying, “Interesting. Complaints have been filed in all U.S. states with a close outcome. The courts have not even begun to decide. Nevertheless #MSM (and not some official body) announce the winner. Congratulations from all sides. The rule of law does that.”