China’s new foreign minister Qin Gang berates the US, warns of “conflict and confrontation”



China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned Tuesday that “conflict and confrontation” with the United States is inevitable if Washington does not change course, delivering a stern and wide-ranging rebuke of US policies for his first press conference in the new role.

Qin, who was until recently China’s ambassador to the US, built up a reputation for being careful and accomplished diplomat while overseas.

But he struck a far more combative tone in his first appearance as foreign minister at China’s annual parliamentary meeting, warning of the “catastrophic consequences” of what he described as a “reckless gamble” by Washington in how it treats its fellow superpower.

“If the United States does not hit the brakes, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing, and there will surely be conflict and confrontation,” Qin said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

At the highly scripted event, Qin set the tone for China’s foreign policy in the coming year and beyond, berating the US for rising bilateral tensions while defending Beijing’s close partnership with Moscow.

Ties between the world’s two largest economies are at their worst in decades, and tensions soared further last month after a suspected Chinese spy balloon floated over North America and was then shot down by US fighter jets.

On Tuesday, Qin accused the US of overreacting in its response, which he said created “a diplomatic crisis that could have been avoided.”

The incident, Qin said, shows “the US perception and views of China are seriously distorted. It regards China as its primary rival and the biggest geopolitical challenge.”

“The US claims it seeks to compete with China but does not seek conflict. But in reality, the so-called ‘competition’ by the US is all-round containment and suppression, a zero-sum game of life and death,” he said.

“Containment and suppression will not make America great, and the US will not stop the rejuvenation of China,” Qin said.

Qin highlighted the issue of Taiwan as the “foundation of the political foundation of Sino-US relations and the first red line that must not be crossed.”

The Chinese Communist Party claims the self-governing democracy of Taiwan as part of its territory, despite having never controlled it, and refuses to rule out the use of force to “reunify” it with mainland China.

On Tuesday, Qin urged the US not to “interfere in China’s internal affairs” and questioned Washington’s different responses to the issues of Ukraine and Taiwan.

“Why does the US talk up respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Ukraine issue, but does not respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity on the issue of Taiwan? Why does the US ask China not to provide weapons to Russia while keeps selling arms to Taiwan?” Qin said.

From CNN

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