Relations between China and the United States have been in a downward spiral in light of American officials accusing Beijing of human rights violations against Muslim minorities, announcing a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics to be held in the country and continuing to ramp up allegations of China’s responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic.
China would not shy away from a confrontation with the United States should it happen, but calls for mutually beneficial cooperation and respectful dialogue, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday.
In a speech to the 2021 International Situation and Chinese Diplomacy Symposium, Wang underlined that a range of disagreements between Beijing and Washington stems from the latter’s “strategic misjudgments”.
According to the foreign minister, “some people in the US are unwilling to recognise that other countries have the right to develop” and to agree that both countries can achieve “win-win results” and seeks to supress Beijing instead.
“If there is [a] confrontation, then (China) will not fear it, and will fight to the finish”, he said. “Dialogue is okay, but it should be equal; cooperation is welcome, but it should be mutually beneficial”.
Wang went on to stress that “cooperation will benefit both, while fighting will hurt both”. He concluded his remarks by commenting on Sino-American relations, expressing hope that Washington will “fulfill its commitments, win the trust of others, and work with China to explore the peaceful coexistence of the two big countries”.
Per the Chinese diplomat, the two nations should “regain their original intentions of melting [the] ice” and seek a consensus.
The two countries have been dealing with multiple challenges in bilateral relations, with the latest developments including the US announcing a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing and former President Donald Trump reiterating accusations about the Chinese government allegedly being responsible for the coronavirus pandemic.
Current President Joe Biden pressed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on alleged human rights violations in the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government is thought to “supress” the Uyghur Muslim minority. American concerns about “forced labour” in the region have prompted new legislation greenlighted by the US Senate to ban imports of goods from Xinjiang, with the bill now headed to Biden’s desk.
Beijing has repeatedly dismissed accusations of human rights abuses in the region, calling for Washington not to interfere in the nation’s internal affairs. It has also rejected allegations regarding China’s invovement in the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid the simmering tensions between China and the US, media outlets in the latter have been fuelling concerns regarding Beijing’s military and technological advances (particularly in the development of hypersonic weapons), saying that the Pentagon should “catch up”. Per December polls, a majority of American voters do not expect the tensions between the two countries to improve, but hope that the two sides will avoid a military conflict.