German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas congratulating US President-elect Joe Biden, on his 2020 American presidential election win, riled the China Daily's Brussels bureau to respond with obscene language, triggering a row.
On Saturday, Maas tweeted to say that the German government looks forward to working together with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stating that both countries will be able to "solve many international challenges if we join our forces".
The "challenges" Maas referred to included China, climate protection and global fight against the coronavirus pandemic "We intend to put forward concrete proposals on how we can close ranks as a transatlantic community -- be it with regard to players such as China, climate protection or the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
Following Maas' statement, Chen Weihua, the EU Bureau Chief of Beijing's state-run China Daily took to Twitter and called the Foreign Minister as "The f***ing Mass". However, he later removed the tweet and said, "I can see nothing but hate for China from Maas. It only applies to him." Incidentally, China is among a handful of countries who have declined to congratulate Joe Biden as the winner of the US presidential election, saying the outcome of the vote was still to be determined.
While leaders around the world rushed to congratulate Biden on his election victory, Russia, China, Mexico and Brazil are yet to officially wish him.
On when President Xi Jinping would offer his congratulations, Wang Webin, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson side-stepped the question and said only that China would "act according to international customary practice".
Chinese foreign policy specialists have said they expect tensions between the US and China to continue under the Biden presidency.
At times during the election campaign, Biden took a tough line on China, calling Xi a "thug". His campaign has also signaled that he will call out China on its repressive policies in the far western region of Xinjiang.
Wang said China remained resolute in protecting its sovereignty and hoped the next US administration would "meet China halfway".
Meanwhile, Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union had in August this year suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong. Germany took the move after the disqualification of 12 pro-democracy candidates from legislative elections and a subsequent decision to postpone the elections.
The decision was severely criticised by China.