China's Xi Finally Congratulates Biden on Election Win; Putin Holds Off

China’s President sent a message of congratulations Wednesday to President-elect Joe Biden on his election win, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to hold off amid ongoing challenges to the results by President .

Xi’s message made no mention of current disputes with the U.S. on a range of issues, and instead hinted at the possibility of turning a page on confrontational relations between the two countries.

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Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan also sent a congratulatory message to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported.

The U.S. military has committed to long-term great power competition with Russia and China. Xi’s message, however, said that “promoting the healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations is not only in the fundamental interests of both peoples, but also meets the common expectation of the international community,” Xinhua reported.

“I hope to see both sides uphold the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and focus on cooperation while managing and controlling disputes,” Xi added, according to Xinhua.

There was no immediate response to Xi’s message from Biden, who had previously called Xi a “thug” during the campaign.

Despite the conciliatory tone of the message, Xi on the same day ordered the People’s Liberation Army to step up modernization efforts to prepare for combat, Xinhua reported.

Xi’s message was the latest in a series of recent public missives to the PLA ordering improved readiness and modernization amid increasing tensions with the U.S. over Taiwan, Hong Kong, China’s buildup in the South China, the response to the global pandemic, and trade and tariffs.

In a brief statement on Nov. 13, China’s Foreign Ministry said that China “respects the choice of the American people” in electing Biden. Xi remained silent on the election for 12 more days. In 2016, Xi congratulated Trump on Nov. 9, a day after the election.

Earlier this week, Putin said he was not ready to congratulate Biden, saying he was waiting for an “end to the domestic political standoff” in the U.S. brought on by Trump’s refusal to concede and the court challenges filed by his legal team.

In an interview with Russian state TV Nov. 22, Putin said there was “no hidden motive, that we like someone, or that we dislike someone” behind his withholding of congratulations.

Trump has shown no sign of being ready to concede.

In a Twitter post, Thursday, Trump said “There is NO WAY Biden got 80,000,000 votes!!! This was a 100% RIGGED ELECTION.”

— Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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