A top Chinese diplomat urged the U.S. 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 criticized the U.S. at his annual news briefing on Sunday for “willfully interfering in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy and human rights.” 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 recognizes this as soon as possible,” Wang said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. “Otherwise, the world will remain far from tranquil.”
While Chinese diplomats have expressed optimism that ties would improve with the U.S. under Biden, they have also say the onus is on Washington to fix the damage done during Donald Trump’s four-year tenure. On Sunday, 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.
At the same time, Wang reiterated China’s willingness to work with the U.S. to arrest shared concerns about the global economy and the climate.
Besides clashing over human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the U.S. and China fought a trade war that continues to see tariffs applied on about $335 billion of Chinese goods annually. Beijing missed its 2020 trade-agreement targets as the pandemic worsened, and the new U.S. trade representative said Beijing must deliver on its promises.
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. U.S. 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.”
Last month, 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 Biden’s early policies were very similar to that of his predecessor.
Premier Li Keqiang said in a work report delivered at the opening of the NPC on Friday that Beijing “will promote the growth of mutually beneficial China-U.S. business relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”