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US Election: China, Vatican congratulate President-Elect, Joe Biden

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Leader of the world’s most populous nation, President Xi Jinping of China and leader of the largest religious organisation in the world, Pope Francis have both extended congratulatory messages to the winner of the November 3 US Presidential election, Mr Joe Biden.

In his congratulatory message to the President-Elect, Jinping, through his foreign ministry on Friday said: “We respect the choice of the American people. We extend congratulations to Mr Biden and Ms Harris,”

“We understand the results of the U.S. election will be determined according to U.S. laws and procedures,” the spokesman added.

In the same vein, Pope Francis offered his “blessings and congratulations” to President-elect Joe Biden in a phone call on Thursday, seeking to rebuild rapport with Washington after four years of sometimes contentious relations with President Donald Trump.

The conversation was announced by the transition team for Biden, who will become only the second Roman Catholic president in U.S. history when he enters the White House on Jan. 20.

Francis has clashed with Trump on a number of issues, including China, climate change, Cuba and immigration.

“The president-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world,” the transition team said in a statement.

“(Biden) expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities,” it said.

In an interview with Reuters in 2018, Francis said he was saddened by Trump’s decision to roll back a deal the Vatican helped broker during the previous Obama administration to encourage trade and travel with Cuba.

Biden, who attends Mass on Sundays, will be the first American Catholic president since his fellow Democrat John F. Kennedy in the 1960s.

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