China-US relations

China’s message to the US: don’t ‘create new opponents’ or ‘bully’ Chinese citizens

  • Beijing won’t ‘sit idly by and ignore any bullying that violates the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese’ but Foreign Minister Wang Yi does not directly refer to case of detained Huawei executive
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 8:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 11:15pm

Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday called on the United States not to “create new opponents” and warned it against “bullying” Chinese citizens.

Wang made the remarks in a speech at the annual Symposium on International Developments and China’s Diplomacy, hosted by a government think tank and its foundation in Beijing.

It came after the world’s two biggest economies agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war, and following the arrest of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou in Canada on December 1. The US is seeking Meng’s extradition on multiple fraud charges.

“The US should abandon its zero-sum game mindset, take a positive view of China’s development and continuously expand the mutually beneficial space and prospects,” Wang said.

“There is no need to artificially create new opponents, but there is a great need to avoid self-fulfilling prophecies,” he added.

Why China ratchets up pressure on Canada as it scolds US over Huawei executive’s arrest

Wang said the ups and downs over the two countries’ 40 years of bilateral relations offered plenty of lessons – in particular that cooperation benefits both the US and China, while confrontation hurts both sides.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the joint communique signed by China and the US establishing their formal diplomatic ties.

Wang also said in the speech that “the safety and security of Chinese compatriots is our priority – China will never sit idly by and ignore any bullying that violates the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens”.

“We will fully safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens and return fairness and justice to the world,” he said.

Wang did not directly refer to the detention of Meng, whose bail hearing at British Columbia’s Supreme Court was adjourned on Monday without a decision.

The arrest raised concerns that China-US trade talks could be derailed, but on Tuesday Beijing indicated they were going ahead.

After his criticism of the US, Wang was full of praise for Beijing’s relations with Moscow, saying “Sino-Russian ties have survived the test of international upheavals and reflect fortitude and stability”.

He said high-level exchanges between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had taken their cooperation to a higher level.

“Now, ties between China and Russia have become an important bedrock for safeguarding world peace, promoting justice and advocating cooperation and win-win [situations],” Wang said.

China and Russia are drafting a pact to boost the use of their national currencies in bilateral and international trade, underscoring their intent to cut their reliance on the US dollar.

The impetus for creating a new financial infrastructure is the continued deterioration in both countries’ relations with the US and the threat that Washington will impose more economic sanctions on one or both of them.