World: Strongmen presidents — from Putin to Xi — are silent over the Biden-Harris election victory, as other world leaders rushed to congratulate them

How to watch election night 2020: the definitive hour-by-hour guide

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a man wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xiamen, China, on September 3, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS © Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xiamen, China, on September 3, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS
  • The world's strongman presidents are yet to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris's election victory, while other world leaders have sent their regards.
  • Leaders including Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Jacinda Ardern, and Justin Trudeau sent their congratulations over the weekend.
  • However, as of Monday morning, felicitations from China's Xi Jinping, Russia's Vladimir Putin, and North Korea's Kim Jong Un were notably missing.
  • A Kremlin spokesman said Russia had no congratulations for Biden, and would wait for the official result, Reuters said.
  • Under a Biden-Harris administration states like North Korea and Russia would likely see renewed criticism, and an end to special treatment dispensed by President Donald Trump.
  • Trump has still refused to acknowledge his election loss, and has continued to push unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Populist leaders around the world are keeping silent over President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, as other world leaders have moved to congratulate the Democrat.

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Biden formally declared victory in the 2020 election on Saturday night, and as of Monday has secured at least 279 electoral college votes, according to a tally from Insider and Decision Desk HQ. A small number of votes are still being counted in Arizona and Georgia, but Biden is ahead in both states.

Over the weekend, world leaders released statements to congratulate Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, — the first female, Black, and Asian American person to occupy that position.

Among the well wishers were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

a person in a suit standing in front of a stage: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris address the nation in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020. Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images © Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris address the nation in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020. Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Notable silences

But as of Monday morning, felicitations from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were notably missing.

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The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Monday that Russia had no congratulations for Biden, because the correct thing to do was to wait for the official election result, according to Reuters.

Trump has so far refused to acknowledge his defeat, and has continued to push unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

A Biden-Harris administration will likely see many of those strongman leaders lose the genial treatment they received under Trump.

Trump has been vilified for trying to establish friendly relations with North Korea and Kim in his attempts to stop the development of nuclear weapons. So far, those attempts have not succeeded, with North Korea continuing to hone its weapons program.

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un are posing for a picture: President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the Korean Demilitarized Zone in 2019. Reuters © Reuters President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the Korean Demilitarized Zone in 2019. Reuters

Biden will likely return to the traditional, more detached, treatment of North Korea, experts have said.

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  Michelle Obama: 'Voting in one election isn't a magic wand, and neither is winning one' In a series of tweets, former First Lady Michelle Obama congratulates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, presses Americans to focus on challenges ahead."And after we celebrate — and we should all take a moment to exhale after everything we’ve been through — let’s remember that this is just a beginning," the former First Lady tweeted. "It’s a first step. Voting in one election isn’t a magic wand, and neither is winning one.

"They will take the North Korea issue really seriously, in a more disciplined and organized way," John Delury, a professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at Yonsei University, told NK News.

Biden will likely also heap new pressure on China, especially over human-rights abuses.

"The United States does need to get tough with China," Biden wrote in March. "The most effective way to meet that challenge is to build a united front of US allies and partners to confront China's abusive behaviors and human rights violations."

But some Trump allies have tentatively embraced Biden

However, some world leaders allied with Trump, or who have received preferential treatment from him, have tentatively congratulated Biden and Harris.

On Sunday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and his father, King Salman, "sent a cable of congratulation" to Biden, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Trump was slammed for not criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed after the CIA concluded that he likely ordered the murder of the Washington Post writer and US resident Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

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Biden has promised a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia, including over the war in Yemen.

"The Saudi leadership is concerned that a Biden administration and a hostile Congress will carry out a full review of relations, including re-evaluating defense ties and therefore will likely make positive sounds and moves towards ending the Yemen conflict," Neil Quilliam, an associate fellow at the Chatham House think tank, told Reuters.

Another ally of Trump, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro — who is known as "Trump of the Tropics" — said Friday that Trump is "not the most important person in the world."

"The most important person is God," Bolsonaro added.

On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson — whom Trump himself once called "Britain Trump" — also tweeted his congratulations to Biden and Harris. Sources on Biden's campaign have told Business Insider's Adam Payne and Thomas Colson that Biden's victory could spell trouble for Johnson, as the president-elect has genuine hostility toward Johnson.

Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu, another Trump ally, also congratulated Biden on Twitter on Saturday, writing "we've had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years."

As Business Insider's John L. Dorman previously reported, many world leaders already have experience working with Biden, who "has a long history of delving into foreign policy as a member of the US Senate from 1973 to 2009 and as vice president from 2009 to 2017."

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