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Expand chart
Data: Axios research; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

With China belatedly congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their election victory on Friday, the list of countries still declining to acknowledge Biden's victory is getting very short.

State of play: Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Russia's Vladimir Putin are among the very few world leaders who say they're waiting for President Trump's legal challenges to play out. North Korea's Kim Jong-un is in a slightly larger group — those who've declined to comment on the results either way.

How it happened: Congratulatory messages began to flow in almost immediately after U.S. networks called the election for Biden last Saturday.

  • Some leaders with close ties to Trump — including Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia's king and crown prince and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan — took a bit longer to acknowledge Biden's win.
  • China's foreign ministry initially declined to congratulate Biden, but on Friday a spokesperson said Beijing "respects the choice of the American people."

The holdouts: The Kremlin said it would wait for an "official announcement" before commenting. Russian media have played up the idea of democratic chaos in America.

  • López Obrador, who himself lost a contested election in 2006 and was infuriated when foreign leaders congratulated his opponent, has said it "not up to us" to determine who won. He may also be wary of provoking Trump.
  • Bolsonaro, who embraced the label of "Trump of the Tropics," continues to refer to Biden as a "candidate."
  • Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko called the election "a disgrace for all democracy" and suggested they might have to be re-run.

Outliers: Iran's leaders have not formally congratulated Biden, but they have acknowledged his victory (and gloated over Trump's loss).

  • Slovenia is an odd case. Prime Minister Janez Janša initially congratulated Trump, and has since doubled down. But the president and other officials have congratulated Biden.

Worth noting: It's highly possible that some countries for which I couldn't find a statement have actually congratulated Biden.

What to watch: Biden has been returning calls to world leaders who offered their congratulations, beginning with Canada's Justin Trudeau.

Go deeper.

Go deeper

Dec 2, 2020 - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Legacy civil rights groups: Biden's transition needs to include us

President-elect Joe Biden at the NAACP 110th National Convention last year. Photo: Bill Pugliano via Getty

Prominent civil rights leaders are concerned that President-elect Joe Biden is deciding his administration without their input, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: As Biden looks to deliver his promise of forming a diverse administration, he will have to contend with different factions of the liberal movement that might pull him in different directions.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

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