Chinese FM: US Needs to 'Hit the Brakes' Before Conflict Becomes Inevitable With Beijing
© Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the USAChinese ambassador to the United States Qin Gang speaks at an August 31, 2021, event
China and the United States have the world’s third and second-largest nuclear stockpiles, respectively. Tensions have been increasing between the two countries over economic issues and the US repeated accusations that Beijing is supporting Russia, as well as matters over Taiwan.
Newly appointed Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said in a Tuesday media briefing that the US and China are headed towards conflict if the United States does not “hit the brake” in its dealings with Beijing.
On Tuesday, Qin, who was until recently the Chinese ambassador to the United States, said that the balloon incident was proof the US sees China as its main adversary, and that the United States acts “with the presumption of guilt” towards China.
The US contends the balloon shot down by the United States Air Force in early February was a Chinese surveillance balloon despite China maintaining it was a scientific vessel launched by a private company that had blown off-course.
Qin reiterated that China was seeking “a sound and stable relationship with the US” but that the Biden administration’s call for “guardrails” in their relationship was the US signaling “that China should not respond in word or in action when attacked,” adding: “That’s not possible.”
If the US does not draw down its aggressive position towards China, Qin warns that “conflict and confrontation” will be inevitable.
“If the US does not hit the brake but continue to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there will surely be conflict and confrontation,” Qin said.
Qin also spoke about China’s relationship with Russia and pointed to it as a template that other countries could follow.
“Relations between Russia and China are characterized by non-alignment with blocs, absence of confrontation and are not directed against third parties,” Qin said, seemingly in reference to NATO which was created to counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War. “[The relationship between China and Russia does] not pose a threat to any country in the world.”
On the subject of sanctions, Qin questioned why his country was being threatened with sanctions by the West, while his country has provided no arms to either side of the conflict in Ukraine.
Qin also said sanctions on Russia are unlikely to solve the issue and said that dialogue to end the conflict should begin as soon as possible. Earlier this month, China proposed a plan to begin peace talks in Ukraine, but it was roundly rejected by Ukraine and its western allies.
The next day reports were leaked by the US intelligence community, accusing China of “considering” weapon shipments to Russia and US officials warned that any such shipments would be met with sanctions. While the Biden administration hinted it was considering making the intelligence reports covering China’s plans public, the US has yet to provide any evidence that China is or was considering weapon shipments to Russia.
5 March 2023, 17:43 GMT
China, Russia and other countries have begun to talk in recent years of a “multipolar” world that would no longer be subject to the whims of the hegemony of the US. "The Russia-China cooperation can become a driver for the world towards multipolarity and greater democracy in international relations," Qin said.