China tells US to stop ‘smearing and attacking’
In a meeting of high-level diplomats, Washington again tried to pressure Beijing into backing its anti-Russian stance
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday that China wants the United States to respect its foreign and domestic policies, abandon economic sanctions and “Letting go of the Cold War mentality”. Blinken told reporters he lobbied Wang over China’s refusal to sanction Russia, apparently to no avail.
Blinken and Wang met on Saturday, a day after a gathering in Indonesia of top diplomats from G20 countries. The meeting came at a critical time for Washington-Beijing relations, with the FBI warning this week of « invasive » industrial espionage and cybercrime emanating from China, and with US President Joe Biden recently declaring that US troops would fight any Chinese attempt to retake Taiwan – a statement his aides quickly corrected.
« Since the United States has promised that it has no intention of conflict with China, it should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. [and] stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, » Wang told Blinken, according to a reading from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Wang accused the United States of trying to « emptying and distorting the one China policy », referring to Washington’s official position that it acknowledges, but does not endorse, China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.
In addition, the United States should « Stop smearing and attacking China’s political system and domestic and foreign policies », Wang said in a statement that may refer to multiple lines of attack from the United States, including allegations of human rights abuses and the recent FBI cybercrime warning.
While Wang acknowledged that Blinken told him that the United States was « open to cooperation with China » he said that Washington should « Drop the Cold War mentality, don’t engage in zero-sum games, and stop ganging up. » China has repeatedly condemned the AUKUS alliance – a trilateral military pact between the US, UK and Australia – and the « Quad » partnership between the US, India, Australia and Japan as attempts to build a « Asia-Pacific version of NATO. »
Speaking to reporters after Saturday’s meeting, Blinken focused on China’s response to the conflict in Ukraine. Beijing has not joined the United States and its allies in condemning the Russian military operation in Ukraine and has stepped up its exchanges with Russia as the Western world sanctions Moscow. However, China has called for a negotiated end to the conflict.
“What you hear from Beijing is that it claims to be neutral. I would start by saying that it is quite difficult to be neutral in the face of this aggression,” Blinken said. “I tried to make the State Councilor understand that this is really a time when we all have to stand up [to Russia].”
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Blinken also accused China of « amplify Russian propaganda » likely a reference to China’s strong condemnation of US foreign policy and the multiple conflicts it has sparked since the end of the Cold War.
Wang did not respond directly to those accusations and did not speak to reporters after Saturday’s meeting. According to the official reading of his conversation with Blinken, the two « exchanged in-depth views on the Ukrainian issue ».