BEIJING (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - A top Chinese diplomat urged the United States to stop meddling in the Asian nation’s internal affairs, in one of Beijing’s most pointed warnings to Washington since President Joe Biden took office.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticised the US at his annual news briefing on Sunday (March 7) for “willfully interfering in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy and human rights”.
Mr Wang blamed such policies for creating “lots of trouble in the world and, in some cases, turbulence and conflict”.
“It is important that the United States recognises this as soon as possible,” Mr Wang said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. “Otherwise, the world will remain far from tranquil.”
At the same time, Mr Wang reiterated China’s willingness to work with the US to arrest shared concerns about the global economy and the climate.
While Chinese diplomats have expressed optimism that ties would improve with the US under Mr Biden, they have also say the onus is on Washington to fix the damage done during Mr Donald Trump’s four-year tenure.
On Sunday, Mr Wang cited Beijing’s battle with “hegemony, high-handedness and bullying” and “outright interference in China’s domestic affairs” in a list of the country’s diplomatic accomplishments over the past year.
The Biden administration pledged in an “interim strategic guidance” that it would support Taiwan, make critical supply chains more secure and work with “like-minded countries” to forge a common approach to Beijing.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called dealings with China the defining test of the century, describing Washington’s intended approach to Beijing as “competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be and adversarial when it must be”.
Besides clashing over human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the US and China fought a trade war that continues to see tariffs applied on about US$335 billion (S$450 billion) of Chinese goods annually. Beijing missed its 2020 trade-agreement targets as the pandemic worsened, and the new US trade representative said Beijing must deliver on its promises.
Last month, Mr Wang said the Biden administration should build up goodwill to repair the relationship, urging Washington to end tariffs, sanctions and the irrational suppression of China’s technological progress. State media recently complained that Mr Biden’s early policies were very similar to that of his predecessor.
Last week, Mr Biden singled out a “growing rivalry with China” as a key challenge facing the US, with his top diplomat describing the Asian country as “the biggest geopolitical test” of this century.
On Sunday, Mr Wang said Beijing is willing to communicate with the US on the basis of mutual respect and hopes that Washington will remove all unreasonable restrictions on cooperation as soon as possible.
Mr Wang added that differences between China and the US must be managed carefully and that the two sides must advocate healthy competition not zero-sum finger-pointing.
On Friday, Premier Li Keqiang said in a work report delivered at the opening of the NPC that Beijing “will promote the growth of mutually beneficial China-US business relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect".