Beijing (AP) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged the United States not to interfere in internal affairs to restart relations. Washington must also cease official contacts with Taiwan.
The one China principle is a “red line that must not be crossed,” Wang Yi told the Beijing press at the annual meeting of the People’s Congress on Sunday. China generally has to contend with “hegemony, arrogance and chicane” and “blunt interference”.
The US “deliberately interfered in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of democracy and human rights”. The US and China should be careful about their differences. Their relationships should be designed as ‘healthy competition’ – not ‘with guilt’. China is open to exploring a new partnership, Wang Yi said. But Washington must lift “unreasonable restrictions.”
Relations between the two largest economies had plummeted under US President Donald Trump. Both sides are also engaged in an ongoing trade war with punitive tariffs. The new president Joe Biden has indicated that he will also take a hard course against China, albeit less just like his predecessor, but more in cooperation with allies in Europe or Asia.
Wang Yi rejected the impression that Beijing was trying to split the European Union and the US. The Foreign Minister emphasized that China and the EU have common interests. The relationships had shown “resilience and vibrancy”.
Wang Yi firmly rejected the charge of “genocide” among the Muslim Uyghur minority in northwest China. “The claim couldn’t be more absurd.” He spoke of “rumors” and “lies”. Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui and other members of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang have been sent to re-education camps. China, on the other hand, speaks of training centers.
Uyghurs are ethnically related to the Turks and feel oppressed by the Han Chinese ruling Xinjiang. After coming to power in Beijing in 1949, the communists incorporated the former East Turkestan into the People’s Republic. Beijing accuses Uyghur groups of terrorism.
At the end of January, the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had expressed his personal opinion that a “genocide” was being committed against the Uyghurs. However, the new US administration has not yet taken an official position on the matter, which would have legal ramifications. The day before he left office, Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, accused Beijing of “genocide and crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang.
Wang Yi also called on the US to clearly abandon the old US government’s “dangerous practice” of maintaining official contacts with Taiwan. The island is an inseparable part of China and needs to be “reunited”. While Taiwan, which is now democratic, has long considered itself independent, Beijing speaks of separatism and tries to isolate the island state diplomatically with its one-China doctrine.