China has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration and called for a reset in relations between Beijing and Washington as the new administration brought an end to Donald Trump’s fractious term.
Beijing on Thursday also said it welcomed the news that the US would re-join the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Paris climate accord, as Biden tried to immediately pivot his office back to a key role in global leadership.
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The new US president is expected to remain tough on China but commit to international cooperation after Trump’s divisive “America First” approach.
“With cooperation from both sides, the better angels in China-US relations will beat the evil forces,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing.
She said Biden had used the word “unity” several times in his inauguration speech, and that it was “precisely what is needed currently in US-China relations”.
Under Trump, tensions with China plunged to a nadir over trade, security, technology, the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and human rights.
In a final dig at the Trump administration, Beijing said on Wednesday it was sanctioning more than two dozen members and ex-officials in the former president’s government, including his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
The officials and their family members will be prohibited from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, the foreign ministry said.
“Over the past few years the Trump administration, especially Pompeo, has buried too many mines in US-China relations that need to be eliminated, burned too many bridges that need to be built, and destroyed too many roads that need to be repaired,” said Hua on Thursday.