‘Unfathomable absurdity’: China accuses US of trying to ‘suppress’ Beijing despite improving ties

Image Source : REUTERS Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Thursday.

Beijing: Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Thursday accused the United States of devising tactics to suppress China’s rise while criticising the Biden administration for adding more Chinese companies to its trade sanctions lists. Wang said although Beijing’s relations with Washington improved after a meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, America has an “erroneous perception” of China and has not fulfilled its promises.

“If the US always says one thing and does another, where is its credibility as a major power? If the US gets nervous and anxious when it hears the word China,’ where is its confidence as a major power?” he said. “If the US is obsessed with suppressing China, it will eventually harm itself”. These remarks come after the US expanded sanctions on companies and individuals from China for aiding Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

The top Chinese diplomat slammed Washington’s “bewildering” trade policy that has reached an “unfathomable absurdity”, referring to the inclusion of Chinese firms in the list of unilateral sanctions the US has imposed, according to CNN. “If it only wants itself to prosper, but denies other countries legitimate development, where is international fairness? If it persistently monopolises the high end of the value chain and keeps China at the low end, where is fairness and competition?” he added.

Wang also hailed China’s growing ties with Russia, noting that trade between the two reached $240 billion last year, beating a target to hit $200 million in trade by the end of 2024. According to the US and the European Union, China is giving Russia an economic lifeline at a time when they are trying to pressure its government with sanctions over its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

“Russian natural gas has entered thousands of households in China, and Chinese cars are driving in the streets of Russia, which fully demonstrates the strong resilience and broad prospects of mutually beneficial cooperation,” Wang said.

US has an ‘erroneous perception’ of China: Wang

Wang further said the US is clinging to wrong perceptions about China and exchanges between the two countries can only continue if both sides respect and recognise their differences. “It has to be pointed out that the US side’s erroneous perception of China continues, and the promises it has made have not really been fulfilled,” he said.

The “crimes” the US wanted to add to the list China had supposedly committed “have reached an unbelievable level,” the foreign minister said. However, Biden had made it clear the US would not seek a new Cold War nor seek to change the Chinese system or back Taiwan’s independence, he added.

China alleges the US is trying to contain and suppress its high-tech development and industrial policy, while both militaries eye each other closely amid increased deployments across East Asia. “So we urge the US to understand the historical development trend, objectively and rationally look at China’s development (and) actively and pragmatically carry out interactions with China,” Wang said.

China on Palestine and Taiwan

Meanwhile, China’s UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, said during a Security Council debate in January that China supports Palestine becoming a full member as soon as possible, as a first step toward creating a Palestinian state, according to Chinese media reports.

Wang, 70, called on Thursday for a major international conference to draw up a roadmap and timetable for a two-state solution. “We support Palestine becoming a full member of the United Nations and call on individual members of the Security Council not to set obstacles for this anymore,” he said.

He also accused the US, without mentioning it by name, of stirring up trouble in Taiwan and the South China Sea. China says that self-governing Taiwan is part of China and should be under its control, and it claims a wide swath of the South China Sea, putting it at odds with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian neighbors.

“For unreasonable provocations, we will take just countermeasures,” Wang said. “We also advise certain countries outside the region not to stir up trouble, choose sides, and not to become disruptors and troublemakers in the South China Sea.” This was seemingly directed towards the Philippines as both countries are locked in a heated confrontation in the disputed waters, as Manila blamed Beijing for trying to block Filipino ships from reaching reefs and other outcroppings claimed by both sides.

China will continue to work for peaceful reunification with Taiwan, Wang said, but warned that anyone who supports independence for Taiwan would pay a price. However, most Taiwanese prefer to remain separate from China without antagonising it. They fear Chinese rule could endanger their freedoms and democracy, particularly after China’s crackdown on Hong Kong.

(with inputs from agencies)

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