Asia perspectives on US Election 2020

Here’s what the Asian and international media have been reporting about the US Election on 3 November 2020.

LATEST: Joe Biden reaches out to allies in the Asia-Pacific | DW News 

In phone calls with the leaders of South Korea, Japan and Australia, President-elect Biden has discussed the challenges key allies face. But the main power in region, China, continues to refrain from congratulating the President-elect. As Biden re-affirms his country's commitment to the Asia Pacific region, DW News finds out what he said to which Asia Pacific leaders. Australia's Financial Review takes a similar look. 

No hiding from Biden: US-China relations under the new president | Newsroom

Some local coverage from Newsroom: Sam Sachdeva looks at which Trump-era policies on China might stay, and what Biden will do differently. Drawing on a range of expert opinions – from Wellington's Beijing representatives to bankers, former diplomats, and newspaper editors – this in-depth piece is a must read if you're interested in how New Zealand might fare under the Biden presidency when it comes to US-China relations. 

Why Trump Will Blame Beijing for a Biden Victory | Foreign Policy 

Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud and conspiracies against him are dominating right-wing media as his supporters attempt to come to terms with an almost certain election defeat. But while the president and his fans are struggling to find a clear narrative, right-wing Chinese-language media has already settled on a clear culprit: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Trump camp frustrated at lack of support for election fraud claims | Nikkei Asia 

Current US President Donald Trump's team is unhappy with the lack of support among Republican lawmakers for its claim that the election is being "stolen" by rival Joe Biden's Democratic Party. As Nikkei Asia reports, Republican lawmakers have largely remained silent, except for top allies siding with the president and a few others publicly rebuking him.

A worried Asia wonders: What will Joe Biden do? | Fox News 

As Asia comes to terms with the reality of a Joe Biden administration, relief and hopes of economic and environmental revival jostle with needling anxiety and fears of inattention. As Biden looks to settle tumultuous domestic issues, there’s widespread worry that Asia will end up as an afterthought. Allies will go untended. Rivals — and especially China, that immense U.S. competitor for regional supremacy — will do as they like.

How the World is Reacting to Joe Biden's Election Win | TIME 

Congratulations have been pouring in from around the world for Joe Biden after he claimed victory in the 2020 US presidential election. World leaders will be closely watching how Biden plans to reshape U.S. foreign policy. Many quickly expressed a willingness to work with the President-elect and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris to develop closer ties with the US, after four years of President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy approach. What did New Zealand, Australia, and countries from Asia have to say on the record? Read their comments here. 

Biden, pledging unity, begins transition as Trump refuses to concede | CNA  

US President-elect Joe Biden began the transfer of power on Sunday (Nov 8) that Americans hope will turn the page on four years of divisiveness as his defeated rival Donald Trump refused to concede, instead playing golf, and continued to cast doubt on the election results.

As Taiwan watches US Election, it may need time to trust a Biden administration | The Diplomat 

Joe Biden projects as a strong supporter of Taiwan should he win the presidency, but people in Taiwan still feel jilted by perceived slights by past Democratic administrations. The United States presidential election has seized attention in Taiwan, revealing sharp splits in opinion within the country and digging up old anxieties about the Democratic Party’s commitment to defending Taiwan against aggression from China

Biden presidency could push New Zealand into tricky positions on China | Stuff

This one from our local media outlet Stuff, but it pulls together China, the US, and NZ into a Biden-win context. The New Zealand-China relationship may come under pressure if Joe Biden wins the US presidency as he’s expected to push Pacific allies to take a harder line against the rising superpower. This will mean the new government in New Zealand will want to develop its China opinion/strategy and sooner rather than later. 

The polls underestimated Trump - again | Straits Times 

While the US awaits final results from Pennsylvania, Arizona and other key states, it is already clear - no matter who ends up winning - that the industry failed to fully account for the missteps that led it to underestimate Donald Trump's support four years ago. And it raises the question of whether the polling industry, which has become a national fixation in an era of data journalism and statistical forecasting, can survive yet another crisis of confidence.

Moon to receive National Security Council briefing on US Election | Korea Herald 

South Korea will maintain a "robust alliance" with the United States regardless of the outcome of its presidential election. President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to receive a related report from the National Security Council (NSC) in the afternoon, where he'll be updated with national security status as at Thursday 5 November and how the drawn-out result is influencing it. 

Opinion: Death by a thousand cuts | Rappler 

What's happening in the US right now - with conspiracy theories wielded against Biden and the democratic voting process - is nothing new to Filipinos. In this live blog entry by Rappler, a writer notes how the "slow drip" of conspiracy theories work. Despite individual instances of fact-checking, such theories "seed the narrative" to a point they can overwhelm a civic society as "death by a thousand cuts". 

Trump seeks to stop 'all voting,' but only counting remains | Korea Herald 

President Donald Trump says he‘ll take the presidential election to the Supreme Court, but it’s unclear what he means in a country in which vote tabulations routinely continue beyond Election Day, and states largely set the rules for when the count has to end. "We'll be going to the US Supreme Court -- we want all voting to stop," Trump said early Wednesday. But the voting is over. It’s only counting that is taking place across the nation. No state will count absentee votes that are postmarked after Election Day.

US faces a four-year paralysis | Asia Times 

If the US Senate remains Republican, Joe Biden will likely be hamstrung for the next four years, writes Asia Times. Even if Trump loses, his unexpectedly strong performance denies Biden a mandate. "Biden, the self-appointed re-uniter of the American people lost massively in the American heartland, and cannot claim to have achieved anything of the kind. If Biden wins, he will limp into the White House crippled," they said. 

Three types of misinformation spreading after the US Election | Straits Times 

Several categories of election misinformation emerged after the counting of votes began 3 November, much of it targeting the swing states that remain too close to call. Here are three types that are making the rounds on social media: false claims of ballots being found or lost; false rumours of vote counts jumping in swing states; and falsehoods about Sharpie markers messing up vote counts. Read The Straits Times overview from Singapore here

Swing states: Pennsylvania – the tipping point in 2020? | CGTN

Four years ago, few imagines that a state-affiliated media outlet from China would be encouraging its audience to understand the nitty-gritty of the US Electoral College system. That's what is happening today at CGTN, as focus draws to the specific US states that will push this election result one way or the other. What's China watching right now? Pennsylvania, it seems. 

Future direction of US-Japan relationship in balance as election results stall | The Japan Times 

Japan watched with trepidation on Wednesday as the United States edged toward an electoral crisis, with the future direction of bilateral ties hinging on an unexpectedly close race for the White House.

The Japanese government refrained from actively commenting on the election, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato hesitant to elaborate on the race during a news conference. Asked when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga might send a congratulatory message to the contest’s winner, Kato refused to answer.

Asia shrugs off chaotic US election but braces for potential knock-on effects | South China Morning Post 

Coming into Thursday morning NZ time, buoyant regional markets in Asia are reflecting a distinct lack of panic, as part and parcel of a messy outcome that was largely anticipated by the region’s investors and political punditry.

Asia Media Centre | Comment 

As Election Day 2020 comes to a close Stateside, there is no clear victor. Asian media outlets - which won't go to bed for many more hours - are just as confused as the rest of us. South China Morning Post ponders what happens if the final result is up for debate and nobody concedes. Japan Times writes that the future of US-Japan relations hinges on this close presidential election and the Japanese Government has refrained from commenting. A Nikkei Asia op-ed proposes that Trump has "done much" for US credibility and those disappointed by the lack of a Biden landslide should "watch what you wish for". On The Straits Times' live stream, commentary was focussed on Trump's outperforming of expectations (again), and how he will fight all the way to the Supreme Court to ensure he remains president. Now, only one thing is for sure. Commentators in the Asia Pacific region will spend tonight at their keyboards, not knowing quite what to write for tomorrow's columns. 

US formally exits global climate pact amid election uncertainty | CNA 

The United States formally exited the Paris Agreement on Wednesday (Nov 4), fulfilling a years-long promise by President Donald Trump to withdraw the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter from the global pact to fight climate change.  But the outcome of the tight US election contest will determine for how long. Trump's Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has promised to rejoin the agreement if elected.

Biden or Trump: The implications for Asia | Election Watch 

The simple answer to the question of what the outcome of the 3 November election will be for Asia is at one level obvious. If Trump wins, we get four more years of the same: erratic attention and engagement; a focus on deal-making summits; pressure on allies to pay more; and an eschewing of regional trade deals in favour of bilateral deals in America’s favour. If Biden wins, we can expect a return to a pre-Trump American foreign policy: liberal-internationalist; respectful and collaborative with allies; firm with dictators; broadly regionalist.

Democrats push to extend control of House for two more years | The Times of India 

Voters have cemented Democrats firmly in control of the House of Representatives on Election Day, which means they have two more years and perhaps an even larger majority. Times of India reports this is due to "anxiety over the pandemic, suburban indignation with Donald Trump, and a fundraising advantage". 

Opinion: Thais criticising Trump and defending Prayut are a strange bunch | Thai Enquirer 

Regardless of what happens today, Thailand "stands to benefit in the same way it has done for centuries, by playing two superpowers off one another". In this opinion piece, Thai Enquirer's Cod Satrusayang looks at the "strange bunch" of Thais who actively criticise Trump ("an authoritarian abroad"), yet support Prayut ("an authoritarian at  home"). 

Indian-origin congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi re-elected for US House from Illinois |  Hindustan Times 

Indian-origin Democratic congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has been re-elected to the US House of Representatives for the third consecutive term. Krishnamoorthi, 47, who was born in New Delhi, easily defeated Preston Nelson of the Libertarian Party. When last reports came in, he had accounted for nearly 71 percent of the total votes counted.

Vietnamese agog about US elections | VN Express

Vietnamese are keenly following the US presidential election today, and seemingly favor the current incumbent in the White House. What are they saying? Here's one insight: "I do not know much about politics, but I like reading about Trump and his family because they are successful and united," said Le Thi Hanh, 30, a housewife in Hanoi. Read more from Vietnam here

Betting market odds flip to favour Trump over Biden in U.S. election | Japan News

Betting market odds on the U.S. presidential election have flipped to favour Republican President Donald Trump over Democratic candidate Joe Biden, according to data from two aggregators. Bettors on British betting exchange Betfair are giving Trump a 60 percent chance of winning a second term in the White House, up from 39 percent when polls opened on Tuesday morning. Biden’s odds of a win among bettors on the Betfair Exchange have fallen to 40 percent from 61 percent earlier.

YouTube accounts live-stream fake US election results to thousands | The Straits Times 

Several YouTube accounts live-streamed fake US election results to tens of thousands of viewers hours before any of the polls closed - and before YouTube took the clips down as spam. Singapore's Straits Times looks at how the YouTube algorithm preference for long, live-streamed events may have been exploited. Similarly, other social media firms are on alert for Election Day misinformation according to Jakarta Post

Pompeo's failure to turn Asia against China should be a wake-up call for US policy hawks | South China Morning Post 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his latest and probably last trip in office to Asia – visiting in succession India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia and, added at the last minute, Vietnam. The face of US foreign policy was on a mission to persuade these countries to join an anti-China coalition under the cover of the US concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. At every stop, he criticised China’s actions and, in particular, the Chinese Communist Party. To Pompeo and apparently the US, “securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time”. But what he heard in return were refusals to jump on the bandwagon.

For China, US election is a lose-lose affair | Nikkei Asia 

As the world awaits the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, the country with the most at stake is China, writes Nikkei Asia. International relations are presently in a more nationalistic era, marked by renewed great power competition and jostling. Should Biden win the election, China cannot count on the US to accommodate its rise, and here's the argument for a lose-lose outcome for the state, no matter who wins. 

Whoever wins, the United States’ democratic model looks shattered in Asia | Foreign Policy

If Trump does win again this week, protests are inevitable and violence is possible. The 2020 US presidential election will have seismic long-term implications, whichever way it goes. But it is this short-term threat of violence that is now catching Asia’s attention ahead of tomorrow’s vote. Unlike China, the United States has traditionally been able to endure moments of political protest, even extreme street violence, without anyone suggesting the republic itself is actually in peril. Would another Trump win shatter the illusion that's obvious to the rest of the world? 

US election 2020: The Asians who are rooting for Trump to win | BBC News

Some in Hong Kong believe “only Trump can hit the Communist Party”. In Taiwan, there’s a sentiment that Trump is “the only big brother we can rely on”. In Vietnam, Trump is “brave to the point of recklessness and even aggression” and this is required in a leader dealing with China. What’s fuelling the Asian support for Trump to win the 2020 US Election? BBC News gets on the ground in Asia for views. Also worth a look is this piece from The Guardian, examing Trump's unlikely high-profile backers from Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

Trump or Biden? What impact the US election result may have on Asia | Channel News Asia

The Channel News Asia insight team finds out whether a second term for Donald Trump is necessarily bad for Asia, and whether Joe Biden is a better bet. Or, would either president elect have the same effect? From a similar angle, check out Singapore’s Straits Times. Contrasting reporting abounds, too. UCA News in Cambodia takes a more partisan side: it argues another Trump administration would be a disaster for Southeast Asia, and the region stands to benefit greatly from a Biden win. The Diplomat believes South Korea unofficially favours Biden, too.

China’s plans if Biden wins US election | Asia Times

If Biden does win, naturally, China has a plan. At minimum, the belief in Beijing is that US-China relations won’t worsen under a Democrat president. Asia Times reports that until 2020, the Chinese capital had an unspoken preference for Trump, until his China-bashing began with the pandemic. If Biden is elected, Beijing hopes to stabilise relations and make a return to strengthening the multilateral trade mechanisms. The “liberal hegemon” tradition of American foreign policy, this article argues, is the ideal.

US presidential election: why the stakes are especially high for Asia relations and climate change | South China Morning Post

The South China Morning Post also reports on how the Asian region will benefit from a Biden win. It surmises that “President Biden” return to a world of diplomacy with active engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the East Asia Summit and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum, and would repopulate America’s diplomatic corps (currently there is no US Ambassador to either Japan or Singapore). For a more in-depth look at the political and defence impacts of the US election, Eurasia Review analyses the ASEAN impact. On the topic of climate change, CNN takes a look at how the US election is a vote on climate change for the whole world.

America's choice and Asia's future | Today Online 

China has de-ideologised its foreign policy since the 1980s. It is clear to political commentators at Today Online China is not trying to turn the rest of Asia into a region of communist states. Instead, China's aims are strategic acceptance, economic engagement, and political influence. In a geopolitically fractured world, strategic competition between the US and China ultimately limits both countries’ capacity to contribute constructively both to global recovery and renovation of the global order. A change in US administration may restore the US appetite for multilateral cooperation, and alter the course of China's influence on the rest of the world. 

America at the crossroads | South China Morning Post

The US is more divided and angry than at any time since the Vietnam war era of the 1970s – and fears that Trump could dispute the result of the election are only fuelling those tensions.

- Asia Media Centre