President Trump still hasn't conceded to President-elect Joe Biden, but most of the world has accepted Biden will be the new US president—and now China, one of the last nations to do so, has joined in. "We respect the choice of the American people," Foreign Ministry rep Wang Wenbin said at a Friday presser reported by state media. "We extend our congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris." NBC News notes the nearly week-late congrats after the race was called for Biden on Saturday contrasts with the almost immediate, effusive nod that China gave to Donald Trump when he won the 2016 election. Just four days ago, Wang was evasive when asked when China was going to offer its best wishes to Biden, saying it would handle the issue "in accordance with international practice," reports CNN. Many interpreted that as China waiting for Trump to concede.
Wang didn't mention Friday what had taken so long, simply adding that "we understand the result of the US election will be determined in accordance with US laws and procedure." Whatever the reason, the AP expects few changes in a Biden administration's approach to China on such topics as trade, security, and technology. The BBC notes the other big countries that still haven't congratulated Biden, including Mexico and Brazil, which both suggest they're waiting for Trump's legal challenges to play out; North Korea, which hasn't made any comment at all; and Russia, which is taking the same approach as Mexico and Brazil. "We believe the correct thing to do would be to wait for the official election result," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier this week. In 2016, Vladimir Putin was among the first to congratulate then-President-elect Trump. (Read more China stories.)