Chinese President Xi Jinping finally joined a growing number of world leaders to congratulate US President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory.
It came as Biden introduced members of his foreign policy and national security team on Tuesday with a sharp message for the world – the US was returning to reassert its global leadership to fight terrorism, control the pandemic, and deal with issues such as climate crisis, nuclear proliferation and cyber threats.
In a message sent to Biden, Xi said, according to Chinese state news agency, “Promoting healthy and stable development of China-US relations not only serves the fundamental interests of the people in both countries, but also meets the common expectation of the international community.”
Xinhua further reported that Xi “hopes that the two sides will uphold the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, focus on cooperation, manage differences, advance the healthy and stable development of China-US ties, and join hands with other countries and the international community to promote the noble cause of world peace and development”.
President-elect Biden inherits a tense and testy US-China relationship from President Donald Trump and he will be watched closely at home and abroad how he approaches it as he seeks to return America to playing a larger role on the global stage.
“America is back,” Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware. “Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Ready to confront our adversaries, not reject our allies.”
Biden’s nominee for ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, summed up the new team’s ethos with a similar sentiment, saying, “America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.”
It was a clear repudiation of Trump’s “America First” vision that, the Democrat has said several times before, left “America alone” on the global stage. Former Trump officials such as James Mattis, the defence secretary, have called for the incoming president to eliminate Trump’s “American First” policy.
Biden and his team have begun getting access to intelligence and briefings as part of the transition process, but Trump has continued to contest the election outcome, citing polls that show 79% of his supporters believe the elections were rigged.
He is expected join his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in Pennsylvania as he briefs Republican lawmakers on election fraud allegations that have been dismissed by courts.
The US president was also reported to be considering granting presidential pardon to Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser convicted of lying.
Biden introduced his “incredible team” of incoming officials in both policy and personal terms, talking about his long years of association with them. He called secretary of state Antony Blinker one of “my closest and most trusted advisers”.
On Avril Haines, his nominee for director of National Intelligence, he said, “Can talk literature and theoretical physics, fixing cars, flying planes, and running a bookstore cafe, in a single conversation – because she’s done all of that.”
The country’s next top spy chief also took the opportunity to tell the president-elect she will not hesitate to tell him something he did not want to hear. “Mr. President-elect, you know that I have never shied away from speaking truth to power, and that will be my charge as director of National Intelligence,” she said.
On John Kerry, the special presidential envoy on climate, Biden said he was “one of my closest friends”, and his appointment reflected the importance he accords to combating the climate crisis.
On Jake Sullivan, who will be the youngest national security adviser in US history at 43, Biden said he “understands my vision that economic security is national security”.