China’s new foreign minister, Qin Gang, has warned that the United States and China are on an inevitable collision course if Washington does not change its approach towards China. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Qin outlined China’s foreign policy agenda for the coming years and presented China’s strengthening relationship with Russia as a beacon of strength and stability, while characterizing the US and its allies as a source of tension and conflict. Qin accused the US of claiming it wants to outcompete China without seeking conflict, while in reality, the US seeks containment and suppression of China. He characterized the US approach as a zero-sum game where “you die and I live.”
Qin defended the close friendship between China and Russia and stated that the relationship between Beijing and Moscow sets an example for global foreign relations. He also said that with China and Russia working together, the world will have a driving force, and the more unstable the world becomes, the more imperative it is for China and Russia to steadily advance their relations. Qin’s comments align with a speech by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who decried what he called the US-led “suppression” of China during a speech to political delegates on Monday.
China-US relations have deteriorated sharply in recent years, and efforts to mend it were derailed earlier this year when the US shot down what it said was a Chinese spy balloon flying in US airspace. China claims that it was an accident caused by “force majeure” and that the US overreacted. Qin blamed the US for the worsening relations, specifically citing the balloon incident, as well as tensions over Taiwan and the Ukraine war.
Qin suggested that the US was acting hypocritically when it defended the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but not China’s claim over Taiwan, as well as when it accused China of considering arming Russia when it was arming Taiwan. He also blamed the US for tensions over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as a province and has sworn to annex by force if necessary. Qin emphasized that the Taiwan question is the bedrock of the political foundations of US-China relations and the first red line that must not be crossed in US-China relations.
Qin’s press conference set out China’s foreign policy intentions for the new five-year political term, which began with the reappointment of Xi as Chinese Communist party leader in October last year, and with new government appointments to be announced this week. Qin emphasized China as a force for global stability and prosperity, inspiring modernization around the world, particularly in the global south. He said that China’s achievements “bust the myth that modernization is westernization” and that China could offer solutions to global challenges, but others were hogging the microphone.