China said on Sunday that relations with the United States were on “the brink of a new cold war” with US politicians not leaving any opportunity to attack and discredit China.
“This political virus is spreading in the US, and jumping at any opportunity to attack and slander China. Some politicians ignore the basic facts and make up countless lies and conspiracy theories against China,” China’s Foreign minister Wang Yi said.
But while the top Chinese diplomat hit back at the US politicians who were pushing the two sides to “the brink of a new Cold War” at the risk of reversing decades of cooperation, he also struck a conciliatory tone at times, urging the Americans to cooperate with China.
Wang was speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of China’s annual legislative meetings in Beijing, where Covid-19 and Sino-US ties were key areas of focus.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington have been soaring over the coronavirus, Hong Kong’s status, Taiwan and other issues.
US President Donald Trump and other American officials have accused Beijing of mishandling the outbreak, suggesting that it had emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan and demanded a probe into the origins of the virus.
Reacting to the US President’s statement, Wang said that while China is open to cooperating with the international community to look into the origins of Covid-19, “such an investigation should not be politicized.”
He also said lawsuits launched in the US trying to seek compensation from China over damages from Covid-19 have “zero basis in fact, law or international precedence”.
“If anybody thought they could use some ludicrous lawsuits to undermine China’s sovereignty and dignity, or deprive the Chinese people of their hard won gains, they are daydreaming and bringing disgrace to themselves,” he said.
Wang further warned the US not to challenge China’s “red line” as Washington recently upgraded its relations with Taiwan.
But despite his criticism of the US, Wang also urged both sides to “communicate and coordinate our macro policies to mitigate the impact of Covid-19” on the global economy.
Both superpowers must find a way to coexist peacefully despite their differences, he said, noting: “It’s also true that we have many disagreements but that doesn’t preclude cooperation.”
Meanwhile, experts were of the opinion that Wang’s comments contrast starkly to the bellicose and confrontational remarks made recently by Chinese “wolf warrior” diplomats – so named after a pair of patriotic blockbuster films.
Asked about this, Wang said China’s diplomats “have principles and guts” and will push back against any insult and defend the country’s honour and dignity.