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Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping

China's Xi seeks to ‘manage differences’ in note congratulating Biden

Xi Jinping's congratulatory note to Joe Biden said China wants to advance a 'healthy and stable' relationship and uphold the principles of 'no conflict' and 'no confrontation'

China’s President Xi Jinping broke his silence on Joe Biden’s election victory, sending the US president-elect a message that he hopes to “manage differences" and focus on cooperation between the world’s two largest economies.

The congratulatory note, reported by the official Xinhua News Agency, said China wants to advance a “healthy and stable" relationship and uphold the principles of “no conflict" and “no confrontation." A previous Foreign Ministry statement sent congratulations and said China respected the American people’s choice.

China’s Communist Party leaders had held off on offering congratulations as President Donald Trump pursued unfounded claims of fraud in an effort to overturn the Nov. 3 election.

Trump has ratcheted up tension with Beijing over the course of his administration, hitting China with tariffs in continuing trade disputes, blaming it for the coronavirus pandemic and condemning its treatment of ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region and its crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong.

A spokesperson for the Biden transition office said there was no immediate comment on Xi’s note. But officials have suggested the president-elect would take a less confrontational tone with China, cooperating on issues such as arms control and climate change.

At the same time, Biden’s team has also acknowledged that the Obama-era effort to work more closely with China -- and look past some of its violations of human rights, intellectual property threats and regional expansion -- is over.

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