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China Warns US That Its Containment Could Lead To “Conflict & Confrontation”

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China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang told reporters at a news conference in Beijing on the sidelines of an annual parliament meeting that the US has been suppressing and containing China rather than participating in fair or rule-based competition.

Qin said, “the United States’ perception and views of China are seriously distorted. It regards China as its primary rival and the most consequential geopolitical challenge. This is like the first button in the shirt being put wrong.”

Connections between the two powerful nations have been strained for years over a number of issues, including Taiwan, trade, and more recently, the conflict in Ukraine. However, last month, things got worse after the United States shot down a balloon off its east coast that it claims was a Chinese spying vessel.

However, Qin claimed that in reality, what that meant in practice was that China was not expected to respond with words or deeds when slandered or attacked. The US claims it is establishing guardrails for relations and is not seeking conflict.

“That is just impossible,” Qin said at his first news conference since taking on the position of foreign minister in December.

“If the United States does not hit the brakes, 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?”, he added. 

Qin compared the Sino-US rivalry to an Olympic race between two athletes.

“If one side, instead of focusing on giving one’s best, always tries to trip the other up, even to the extent that they must enter the Paralympics, then this is not fair competition,” Qin said.

China, Russia bilateral relations

Weeks prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, China and Russia signed a “no limits” partnership. Echoing Russia’s complaint, China has blamed NATO expansion for starting the conflict.

Despite criticism from the West for failing to specifically name Russia as the aggressor, China has chosen not to condemn the invasion and has vehemently maintained its position on Ukraine.

Additionally, China has vehemently refuted US claims that it has been contemplating arming Russia.

The world is becoming more tumultuous, according to Qin, and close interactions between President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have served to anchor ties between the neighbours.

Xi has met with Putin several times since Russia invaded its southwest neighbour a year ago, but not with his Ukrainian colleague. The senior Ukrainian diplomat in Beijing stated last month that this calls into question China’s assertion of neutrality in the conflict.

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