Conflict is Imminent Unless US Alters Course, China warns

Conflict is Imminent Unless US Alters Course, China warns
Photo by Présidence de la République du Bénin

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said Beijing and Washington are on the path towards "conflict and confrontation" if the United States does not alter its course, amid tensions surrounding trade, technology, Taiwan, human rights, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Qin said that Washington's China policy has strayed from a rational and sensible path, at a press conference on the sidelines of China's annual meeting of the National People's Congress, where leaders outline their economic and political priorities for the year ahead, the Associated Press reported.

“If the United States does not hit the brake, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there surely will be conflict and confrontation,” said Qin on a first news conference since taking the office last year.  “Such competition is a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity,” he added.

Qin’s remarks came after president Xi Jinping’s speech on Monday when he said that “blockade” and “suppression” from U.S. and other Western nations have led to “unprecedented grave challenges” for China, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported. Xi also mentioned that China should remain calm, continue progress, but at the same time “dare to fight.”

In the last couple of weeks, U.S.-China relations have reached a new low amid spy balloon concerns, Taiwan, and China’s support to Russia in its war with Ukraine.

Multiple high-level officials from Washington have warned China against possible consequences, while Beijing has denied allegations and accused the U.S. of spreading misinformation.

Touching on all of these issues, Qin repeated that the balloon’s appearance on U.S. skies was an accident, but it demonstrated that Washington’s views on China are “seriously distorted,” viewing the nation as its “primary rival” and “most consequential geopolitical challenge”.

Regarding Taiwan, Qin accused the U.S. of “disrespecting China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” with its offers of defensive weapons to Taiwan.

“Why does the U.S. ask China not to provide weapons to Russia, while it keeps selling arms to Taiwan?” he said.

Qin's press conference comes two days after the start of the annual National People's Congress meeting, where Xi is expected to claim his third five-year term of presidency.