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Russia, China, Brazil among nations staying silent as world congratulates Biden

Western allies, including the German Chancellor and Taoiseach Micheál Martin – welcomed a fresh start with Washington.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

NOTABLE HOLDOUTS HAVE emerged as world leaders congratulate Joe Biden on his US election victory, with Mexico, Brazil, Russia, and China so far remaining silent.

While incumbent Donald Trump has yet to concede and has launched several legal challenges, many world leaders congratulated Biden and running mate Kamala Harris after the Democrats were declared winners at the weekend and spontaneous celebrations erupted across American cities.

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, dubbed “the Trump of the Tropics” for his populist, off-the-cuff style, has not made any public comment on Trump’s loss.

And Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has so far refused to congratulate Biden, saying he would wait until the legal challenges over the vote were resolved.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is waiting for official results from the US presidential election before congratulating a winner, according to the Kremlin.

“We consider it correct to wait for the official results to be finalised. I want to remind you that President Putin repeatedly said he will respect the choice of the American people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. 

China also declined to congratulate Biden, saying the outcome of the vote was still to be determined.

Trump’s four years in the White House have been marked by a costly trade war and increasingly icy relations with China, with the two powers sparring over areas from blame for the Covid-19 pandemic to Beijing’s human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

China said it had “noticed that Mr Biden declared he is the winner of the election.”

“Our understanding is that the outcome of the election will be determined in accordance with US laws and procedures,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told press at a regular briefing.

After declining to acknowledge Biden’s victory despite repeated questions from reporters, Wang said: “We hope the new US government can meet China halfway.”

Trump has refused to concede defeat, complaining in a tweet yesterday, “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?”

election-2020-view-from-asia Newspaper front-page with the headlines Biden wins are displayed at newsstands in Beijing, China. Source: Ng Han Guan/PA

trump Trump waves to supporters as his motorcade arrives at the White House after golfing at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virgina, Sunday. Source: J. Scott Applewhite/PA

Most Western allies welcomed a fresh start with Washington. Many have been dismayed at Trump’s criticism of the decades-old military and economic alliances.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin offered his congratulations to Biden following his win.

Martin said that he wanted to offer the “warmest congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as the 46th President of the United States”.

“Ireland takes pride in Joe Biden’s election, just as we are proud of all the generations of Irish women and Irish men and their ancestors whose toil and genius have enriched the diversity that powers America,” Martin said. 

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Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warmly offered to cooperate closely with Joe Biden after his election as the next US president, a sharp contrast to her stern warning to Donald Trump four years ago.

Underlining the President-elect’s “decades of experience in foreign policy” and recalling “good encounters and talks with him”, Merkel vowed to “stand together” with Washington to overcome international challenges – from the coronavirus pandemic to global warming.

“America is and remains our most important ally but it expects us, and rightly so, to boost our efforts and to ensure our own security and to stand up for our own convictions in the world,” added the German leader, who will step down next year.

Others expressed hope Biden might revive co-operation on health, climate and other issues following Trump’s rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and pressure on Canada, Mexico, South Korea and other partners to renegotiate trade terms.

“I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together,” said Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who was the target of personal insults from Trump.

In Asia, a region on edge about the strategic ambitions of China’s ruling Communist Party, the elected leaders of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan invoked “shared values” with Washington and expressed hope for close relations.

“I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the Japan-US Alliance and ensure peace, freedom, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” said Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga on Twitter.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea said he looked forward to working together “for our shared values”.

- With reporting from AFP 

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