Asia Minute: Regional Governments Watch U.S. Election Drama with Little Comment

Nov 5, 2020

Two days after the end of voting, the U.S. presidential election still dominates international headlines. But even if the whole world is watching, many governments in the Asia Pacific have little to say about it.

China’s Foreign Ministry is not shy in offering viewpoints on American policies. But when it comes to the presidential election, a ministry spokesman called it “an internal affair of the U.S.,” saying “China does not hold a position on this.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters Thursday morning that his country is a “partner” of the United States, not a “participant” — adding that he had no further comment on the election, beyond having “great confidence in the democracy of the United States.”

In Tokyo Wednesday, the official response was careful: “The Japanese government will continue to monitor the outcome and its potential implications with keen interest.”

One South Korean official put the emphasis not on politics, but on markets, saying there’s “concern that an election result may not come in early” and that “volatility in the financial market may increase for the time being.”

He noted that if uncertainty lingers, authorities will “be prepared to respond to external risks and volatility in the financial and foreign exchange markets.” 

A presidential spokesman in Manila noted there’s a “personal relation” between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and President Trump, but added that he’s confident Duterte would establish “equally warm personal relations” with Joe Biden if he takes the White House.