Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave his annual news briefing on Sunday and as expected he hammered away at America's presence and increasing attempts to insert itself politically in the South China Sea region.
In particular he demanded that the US stop "crossing lines and playing with fire" on Taiwan in a stark message to Biden, underscoring that Beijing sees "no room for compromise or concessions" when it comes to Chinese sovereignty over the democratically ruled island. Biden's doubling down on many Trump policies when it comes to 'confronting' China was described by Wang as a "dangerous practice" that must be immediately reversed.
And what sounds like both a warning to other global powers and a threat to the US in particular, Wang continued: "It is important that the United States recognizes this as soon as possible," adding that, "Otherwise, the world will remain far from tranquil."
He emphasized a litany of instances of US "bullying" and "interference" in China's own affairs, describing Washington's "willfully interfering in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy and human rights." One example given was the US calling out human rights abuses against the minority Uighur Muslim population. "The claim that there is genocide in Xinjiang couldn’t be more preposterous. It is just a rumor fabricated with ulterior motives and a lie through and through," he said.
Wang's remarks were issued on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. The major parliamentary session to kick off the year occurs every Spring. This year the NPC is set to initiate a far-reaching overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral system, intent on further cementing its power following last year's draconian national security law which has effectively crushed anti-mainland dissent.
Former governor of Hong Kong Lord Chris Patten was cited in BBC as saying that China's Communist Party had "taken the biggest step so far to obliterate Hong Kong's freedoms and aspirations for greater democracy under the rule of law".
Wang, however, touted in his remarks that, "Hong Kong’s shift from chaos to stability fully serves the interests of all parties. It will provide stronger guarantees for safeguarding Hong Kong citizens’ rights and foreign investors’ lawful interests."
The one-China principle is a "red line" that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday, adding that the Chinese government will never compromise on the Taiwan question. pic.twitter.com/btorhWohY3— Chinese Embassy in CZ (@ChineseEmbinCZ) March 7, 2021
The US and European countries have condemned these moves to ensure only "patriots" can run in Hong Kong elections. Wang had this and other examples in mind when in his address he touted Beijing's recent 'successes' in battling "hegemony, high-handedness and bullying" and "outright interference in China’s domestic affairs" out of Washington.
Another example offered was concerning recent US and Western allied naval maneuvers: "The US and other Western countries frequently stir up troubles in the region, trying to drive a wedge using the South China Sea issue. They have only one purpose: to sabotage peace and disturb regional stability," Wang said.
Interestingly enough Wang offered one starting point for US cooperation as potentially happening on the climate front. "I hope China and the U.S. restarting cooperation on climate change can also bring a positive change of climate to bilateral ties," Wang said.
* * *
Additionally Wang's briefing reviewed China's relations with other major world powers and how Beijing is handling pressing crises like the pandemic as follows, according to a Bloomberg review:
- Europe relations: "China and Europe are two important players in this multipolar world. The relationship is equal. It is open. It is not targeting any third party or controlled by anyone else."
- Vaccine diplomacy: "We’re also ready to work with the International Olympic Committee to provide vaccines to Olympians."
- Trade: "The answer is not to retreating to protectionism, isolation or decoupling, but to work together to make globalization open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all."
- Japan tensions: "I hope that Japanese society will embrace a more objective and rational conception of China, and solidify public support for long-term steady progress in China-Japan relations."
- Indian border: "The rights and wrongs of what happened in the border area last year are clear, so are the gains and losses. The facts once again prove that unilaterally creating confrontation will not solve the problem."
- Russia cooperation: "We will set the example of strategic mutual trust by firmly supporting each other in upholding core and major interests, jointly opposing color revolutions, countering disinformation, and safeguarding national sovereignty and political security."