The Chinese government, which has been giving “we-don’t-comment-on-other-countries’-internal affairs” responses to questions about the United States presidential election, has reacted, albeit unofficially, with an almost audible sigh of relief after Joe Biden was declared the winner over incumbent Donald Trump.

However, China has held back while American friends and allies such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and regional countries such as Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Australia congratulated president-elect Biden. China knows that it is neither friend nor ally and thus it would be inappropriate to thrust itself into the front to congratulate the new American leader.

But this doesn’t alter the fact that the U.S. relationship with China is the most important in the world. And China has made clear its hope that a change in administration would lead to an improvement in the bilateral relationship.