A Chinese official warned during a press conference on March 7 of “conflict and confrontation” if the U.S. does not change policies toward China.
The briefing was Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang’s first since taking the helm of the ministry in December 2022. Previously, he served as the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. and has worked within the Foreign Affairs Ministry since 2011.
“The United States claims it seeks to compete with China, but does not seek conflict. In fact, the United States’ so-called competition is total containment and suppression,” Gang told reporters on the sidelines of the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress in Beijing.
In his first press conference as China's top diplomat, Foreign MinisterQin Gang said US policies risk "conflict and confrontation" with Beijing.
— DW Asia (@dw_hotspotasia) March 7, 2023
“It’s a zero-sum game in which you die and I live,” he added. “If the United States does not hit the brakes, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing or a crash and there will be conflict and confrontation.”
Qin’s comments came just days after remarks from China’s President Xi Jinping, who also warned of a U.S. containment strategy implemented against China.
“Western countries led by the United States have implemented all-round containment, blockade and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented grave challenges to our nation’s development,” the Associated Press (AP) quoted Xi as saying during a speech.
Xi also explained that China must “remain calm, maintain concentration, strive for progress while maintaining stability, take active actions, unite as one, and dare to fight,” according to the AP.
Tensions between the U.S. and China have been heightened since February, when the U.S. military downed a Chinese surveillance balloon that drifted across the entire continental U.S.
Qin criticized the U.S. response, arguing that the balloon was unmanned and outside of China’s control.
“The U.S. acted with the presumption of guilt,” CNBC quoted Qin as saying. “The result is the U.S. and China policy has entirely deviated from the rational and sound track.”
Qin also sought to cool concern over China’s closer relationship with Russia as the conflict with Ukraine drags on.
“The more unstable the world becomes the more imperative it is for China and Russia to steadily advance relations,” Qin said.