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Beijing urges US to drop ‘wishful thinking’ of changing China

Xi Jinping delivers a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on behalf of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 28, 2017. (Ma Zhancheng/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
May 26, 2020

The United States should give up its “wishful thinking” of changing China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, warning that some in America were pushing relations to a “new Cold War.”

“China has no intention to change the U.S., nor to mention replace the U.S. It is also wishful thinking for the U.S. to change China,” Wang said Sunday during his annual news briefing on the sidelines of National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing.

The U.S.-China relationship has worsened dramatically in the past few months as America became one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The world’s two biggest economies have clashed on a range of issues from trade to human rights, with Beijing’s latest move to tighten its grip on Hong Kong setting up another showdown between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping.

“Some U.S. political forces are taking hostage of China-U.S. relations, attempting to push the ties to the brink of so-called ‘new Cold War,’” Wang said. “This is dangerous and will endanger global peace.”

Tensions also spiked after China announced Thursday that the NPC would write sweeping legislation into Hong Kong law to criminalize the harshest criticism of China and the ruling party. The move drew swift condemnation from pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, who defied virus-related social-distancing measures and rallied in the city center even as Wang spoke.

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Secretary of State Michael Pompeo called the measure a “disastrous proposal” and indicated that it could lead the U.S. to reconsider the Hong Kong’s special trade status.

Wang on Sunday repeated China’s stance that Hong Kong affairs were its internal affairs and said the principle of non-interference must be upheld by all countries. He said implementing the national security law would only affect a small number of people.

U.S. bills

U.S. lawmakers have advanced several pieces of legislation targeting China in recent weeks with bipartisan support amid mounting calls for lawmakers to punish Beijing for its alleged failure to disclose information early on about the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has cost almost 100,000 American lives and resulted in tens of millions in job losses.

One of the bills passed by the U.S. Senate would delist from American stock exchanges Chinese companies that refuse to comply with U.S. accounting disclosure regulations, and could lead to the barring of tech giants like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc.

Xi said Saturday he won’t let China return to its days as a planned economy, pushing back against U.S. criticism that the nation has failed to deliver on promised reforms.

“We’ve come to the understanding that we should not ignore the blindness of the market, nor should we return to the old path of a planned economy,” Xi told political advisers gathered in Beijing for their annual legislative sessions, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

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© 2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.