BEIJING: China's foreign ministry said on Friday (Nov 13) that it extended congratulations to US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, who won the Nov 3 election that President Donald Trump has refused to concede.
"We respect the choice of the American people. We extend congratulations to Mr Biden and Ms Harris," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular daily briefing.
"We understand the results of the US election will be determined according to US laws and procedures," he added.
China was previously among a handful of major countries including Russia and Mexico that had not congratulated the president-elect, with Beijing commenting earlier this week that it had "noticed Mr Biden declared he is the winner".
In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to Trump on Nov 9, a day after the election.
Since the US media called the presidential race, Trump has not conceded to Biden as is traditional practice once a winner is projected.
Trump's refusal to accept defeat has put Beijing in an awkward position, with China loath to do anything to antagonise Trump, who has mounted court challenges to the balloting and remains in office until the Jan 20 inauguration.
Trump's four years in the White House have been marked by a costly trade war between the two powers, with Beijing and Washington also sparring over blame for the COVID-19 pandemic and China's human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
Under his "America First" banner, Trump has portrayed China as the greatest threat to the United States and global democracy.