China’s foreign minister Qin Gang has blamed the United States for rising tensions between Washington and Beijing and said that if the United States does not change paths no number of preventive measures could avert a confrontation.
The US had engaged in suppression and containment of China rather than fair competition, and such provocation could not be tolerated indefinitely, Qin told reporters at a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday on the sidelines of an annual parliament meeting.
“The United States’ perception and views of China are seriously distorted,” Qin said, adding that Washington “regards China as its primary rival and the most consequential geopolitical challenge.”
The US, he continued, always talks about a rule-based world order but then does not follow those rules, he said, using the example of two athletes competing in a race where “one side, instead of focusing on giving one’s best, always tries to trip” up the other runner.
“That is not fair competition, but malicious confrontation and a foul,” he said.
The foreign minister also noted that the US says it is establishing protective barriers to ensure there is no conflict with China, but in practice, this means that Beijing is not supposed to respond with words or actions when slandered or attacked, he said.
“If the United States does not hit the brake, and continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailment, which will become conflict and confrontation and who will bear the catastrophic consequences?”
The foreign minister’s comments came after China’s President Xi Jinping condemned what he described as the US-led “suppression of China” in a speech to delegates on Monday attending China’s annual parliamentary session.
“Western countries led by the United States have implemented all-round containment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to our country’s development,” Xi said, Chinese State media reported late Monday.
Xi said that China must “have the courage to fight as the country faces profound and complex changes in both the domestic and international landscape”, according to a readout of the speech to delegates.
Relations between Beijing and Washington have become increasingly tense in recent years over trade, human rights and Taiwan.
Relations soured even further last month when the US shot down a Chinese balloon it said was being used for surveillance –- a claim strenuously denied by Beijing. The balloon incident caused US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a diplomatic trip to Beijing for a meeting focused on a range of hot-button issues.