China’s foreign ministry on Friday accused US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken of “smelling” the country, after a speech by US officials calling for steps to be taken to unbalance Beijing’s influence.
In a long-awaited speech billed by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden as the most comprehensive statement ever made about China, Blinken said Beijing posed “the most serious long-term challenge to the international system.”
China has faced a chorus of warnings from the United States and its Western allies in recent days for its growing influence and global ambitions.
In his detailed speech on Thursday, Blinken warned of China’s “intent to rebuild the international system” and called on countries to maintain stability.
He accused Beijing of escalating tensions over Taiwan – a self-governing island China claims as its territory – and said Beijing had “severed Taiwan’s ties with countries around the world and (is blocking it from participating in the international community).”
In a speech on Friday, Beijing lamented that it was “spreading false information, exaggerating China’s threats, interfering in China’s internal affairs and tarnishing China’s domestic and foreign policy.”
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu’s Regular Press Conference on March 26, 2006
Washington recently launched a relaxed new trade structure across Asia and set up a forum with the European Union to set technical standards.
As China dominates new fields, such as artificial intelligence, the effort is aimed at uniting like-minded countries.
Blinken acknowledged a growing consensus that other countries could not change China’s course, saying that under President Xi Jinping it had become “more repressive at home, more aggressive abroad.”
“There is a growing convergence with Beijing about the need to move towards a more realistic relationship,” he said.
‘Coexistence and cooperation’
The US Secretary of State’s speech contradicts the views of former President Donald Trump’s previous US administration, which spoke of an all-out global conflict with China.
On a tour of Africa and Latin America, where China has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure, Blinken has downplayed US-China competition and called on countries to take sides.
“We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War. On the contrary, we are both determined to avoid it,” he said in a statement.
“We do not want to prevent China from playing its role as a major power, or prevent China – or any other country – from growing its economy or advancing the interests of its people.”
However, he acknowledged that maintaining international order, including international law and treaties, “would make co-operation and cooperation possible for all countries, including the United States and China.”
On Monday, Biden made waves with the clearest promise in decades that the United States would militarily protect Taiwan from any attack by Beijing.
The promise has angered Beijing, which has warned Washington not to “underestimate” China’s resolve and capabilities.
On Thursday, Biden stressed that Washington is not deviating from its long-standing position on Taiwan, and said that Beijing has escalated tensions, including almost daily military flights around the island.
“Although our policy has not changed, it is Beijing’s increasing coercion that has changed,” Blinken said.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)