Washington Protests: Asia Pacific Reacts


The top Democrats in the US Congress have called for President Trump’s immediate removal from office for his part in motivating and encouraging the violent mob that overtook the Capitol building yesterday. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, giving him the power to remove the presidency from Mr. Trump.

International political reaction to the unprecedented events in the US capital has been swift, here's just some of what leaders in the region have been saying: 


New Zealand

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern,  on Twitter: “Like so many others, I’ve been watching what’s happening in the United States. I share the sentiment of friends in the US – what is happening is wrong. Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.”

NZ Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta , on Twitter: “We regret unfolding events in Washington DC. Our thoughts are with the American people. Violence has no place in thwarting democracy. We look forward to the peaceful transition of the political administration, which is the hallmark of democracy. Kia tau ngā manaakitanga.”


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Twitter: “Very distressing scenes at the US Congress. We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition.”

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Twitter: “Very concerned by scenes at the US Congress. I condemn any violence to interfere with democratic processes. This will not impede the transfer of power, US institutions are robust & its democratic strength resides in the full breadth of its people who are no part of this violence.”


Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying appeared at a news conference on January 7th:

“We have noted what’s now unfolding in the United States. We believe that people in the United States certainly hope for an early return of normal order.

You mentioned that four people were reportedly killed in this incident, and you also described some reactions from the Chinese netizens. I would also like to share some of my thoughts with you.

First, Chinese people have the right and freedom to make their opinions and comments online. I believe that for many people, seeing those scenes in the United States has brought back a sense of deja vu, though they brought out some quite different reactions from certain people in the United States, including from some media.

You mentioned the unrest in Hong Kong. On July 2019, radical and violent protesters in Hong Kong broke into the Legislative Council, ransacking the main chamber, smashing facilities, tossing toxic liquid and powder at police officers, and even biting off one police officer’s finger and stabbing another. But the Hong Kong police showed maximum restraint and professionalism and no protester ended in death. You mentioned that there were already four deaths in Washington in what was less violent and destructive than the case in Hong Kong".


Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry / photo supplied

"If you still remember how some U.S. officials, lawmakers and media described what’s happened in Hong Kong, you can compare that with the words they’ve used to describe the scenes in Capitol Hill. I made a note of some words they used. They all condemned it as “a violent incident” and the people involved as “rioters”, “extremists” and “thugs” who brought “disgrace”. Now compare that with what the Hong Kong violent protesters were called :“a beautiful sight”, and “democratic heroes”.

What’s the reason for such a stark difference in the choice of words?

Everyone needs to seriously think about it and do some soul-searching on the reason.

We believe that the American people still cherish peace and safety, especially when they are still struggling with a difficult pandemic situation. We hope that they will have their peace, stability and safety back as soon as possible”.



Kato Katsunobi/ photo supplied

The Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsuonobu spoke at a press conference on January 7th :  “We are looking at this cautiously. According to the news media, we found out that a woman has died so we offer our sympathy. Regarding this issue, President Trump has been calling out for the demonstrators to go back home and has been saying that order should be followed and peace should be restored. The president-elect, Mr. Biden, has been calling out for justice. You mentioned about the political strategy of Mr. Trump. But this is about the U.S., therefore as a government we will refrain from making comment. But as for U.S. democracy, I wish that they will restore peace and cooperation and become unified.”


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter: “Distressed to see news about rioting and violence in Washington DC. Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests.”


A Pakistani diplomat based in Turkey quoted Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying: “We are closely following the developments in Washington DC. We are hopeful that the situation will soon normalize and would not in any way impact the ongoing transition process.”


Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Twitter: “I am shocked by the outrageous scenes at US Congress! The people have spoken – the transition to the next government must be peaceful! We wish the all US citizens peaceful days ahead!”

South Korea   

A statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul focused on the confirmation vote in the Senate , but doesn’t mention the rioting at the Capitol.

 “The Korean government congratulates President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on the confirmation of the victory in the U.S. presidential election after the U.S. Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results on January 7.

The Korean government looks forward to communicating and cooperating closely with the new Biden administration to further advance the strong Korea-U.S. alliance, achieve denuclearization and the establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, and tackle global issues including health security and climate change.”


- Asia Media Centre