China’s foreign minister calls on Joe Biden to ‘restart dialogue’ with Beijing

Liu Zhen
·3-min read

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged US President-elect Joe Biden on Friday to have the “right perception” of China and cooperate with Beijing “to restart dialogue, return bilateral relations to the right track and rebuild mutual trust”.

His remarks, which came in a video speech to the US think tank Asia Society Policy Institute, were among the most extensive comments yet by a top Chinese official about the incoming Biden administration in comparison to the departing administration of US President Donald Trump.

Wang expressed Beijing’s anger over the China policies taken in recent years by Washington and appealed to the Biden administration, which assumes control on January 20, to manage the two nations’ differences constructively.

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“We have noted the four priorities laid out by President-elect Joe Biden. We believe that at least three – Covid response, economic recovery and climate change – provide space for cooperation between our two countries,” Wang said.

“We hope that we will expand cooperation, manage differences through dialogue.”

Wang appealed to US President-elect Joe Biden to manage the US-China relationship constructively. Photo: Getty Images via TNS
Wang appealed to US President-elect Joe Biden to manage the US-China relationship constructively. Photo: Getty Images via TNS

Concerning the coronavirus, China’s top diplomat suggested that the two sides collaborate on production of personal protective equipment, vaccine research, manufacturing and distribution as well as support Covid-19 responses by other countries.

He also welcomed Biden’s statement that the US would return to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change – one of several international agreements Trump had withdrawn from – and proposed to strengthen macroeconomic dialogue.

The foreign minister stressed the importance that the world’s two largest economies have the “right perception” about each other, and repeated Beijing’s pledges to never seek hegemony or interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.

Wang said the Trump administration’s decision to confront China on multiple fronts at the same time – the “all of government” approach – was “going in a wrong direction”.

Among the areas Wang suggested the US and China could work together were the manufacture and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. Photo: AFP
Among the areas Wang suggested the US and China could work together were the manufacture and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. Photo: AFP

“China is not a threat to the United States, was not, is not and will not be a threat to the United States,” he said.

He warned that the Trump administration’s attacks on the Chinese Communist Party would not work and that if the US policy on Beijing was to remodel, or even subvert, China, it would not be achievable.

“It is important that the United States policy toward China returned to objectivity and sensibility as early as possible.”

Wang defended China’s policies in Xinjiang and Tibet, saying that they were not subject to foreign interference, and that the US sanctions over these issues were based on “false information” and violated international law.

“As an independent sovereign state, China naturally has to respond,” he said.

US President Donald Trump’s administration, Wang said, had been “going in the wrong direction” in its policies toward China. Photo: Getty Images via TNS
US President Donald Trump’s administration, Wang said, had been “going in the wrong direction” in its policies toward China. Photo: Getty Images via TNS

The foreign minister claimed that both regions enjoy social progress, ethnic harmony, freedom of religious belief and vibrant economies.

Wang criticised the Trump administration’s recent expansion of sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals, and the restriction on some Chinese to travel and study in the US ostensibly for security reasons.

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“To view all Chinese students, experts and scholars in the US as spy suspects actually says more about the mentality of the accusers and their lack of confidence,” he said.

“China has no intention to pick a fight with the United States, either in diplomacy, media, or any other field.”

The foreign minister also mentioned the South China Sea, a hotspot for potential military conflict where US warships conduct freedom of navigation operations near Chinese-controlled islands and reefs.

He suggested that the two sides explore possibilities of cooperation in those areas, engage in positive interactions and avoid misunderstanding and misjudgment.

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