San Francisco Chronicle
Beijing urges U.S. to cancel Trumpera trade penalties
BEIJING — China’s top diplomat called Monday for new U.S. President Biden’s administration to lift restrictions on trade and peopletopeople contacts while ceasing what Beijing considers unwarranted interference in the areas of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s comments at a forum on U.S.China relations came as Beijing presses the new administration in Washington to drop many of the confrontational measures adopted by former President Donald Trump.
Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports in 2017 and imposed bans and other restrictions on Chinese tech companies and academic exchanges as he sought to address concerns about an imbalance in trade and accusations of Chinese theft of American technology.
Trump also upgraded military and diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the selfgoverning island democracy claimed by China as its own territory, while sanctioning Chinese officials blamed for abuses against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and a crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong.
“We know that the new U.S. administration is reviewing and assessing its foreign policy,” Wang told diplomats, scholars and journalists at the Lanting Forum. “We hope that the U.S. policymakers will keep pace with the times, see clearly the trend of the world, abandon biases, give up unwarranted suspicions and move to bring the China policy back to reason to ensure a healthy, steady development of ChinaU.S. relations.”
While Biden has pledged engagement and a more civil tone in U.S. diplomacy, it’s unclear whether he will make any fundamental changes in Washington’s policies toward Beijing. China faces more opposition than ever in Washington due to its trade record, territorial disputes with neighbors, and accusations of technology theft and spying. Taiwan enjoys strong bipartisan support, as do criticisms of China’s human rights record, especially on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
In his first address before a global audience Friday, Biden said the U.S. and its allies must “prepare together for a longterm strategic competition with China.”
“Competition with China is going to be stiff. That’s what I expect, and that’s what I welcome, because I believe in the global system Europe and the United States, together with our allies in the IndoPacific, worked so hard to build over the last 70 years,” the president said in remarks delivered virtually to the annual Munich Security Conference.
As is standard in Chinese foreign policy, Wang put the onus for improving relations squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. and offered no direct proposals for major breakthroughs, even while encouraging increased dialogue.
On trade, Wang said China would defend the rights of U.S. companies while hoping the U.S. would “adjust its policies as soon as possible, among others, remove unreasonable tariffs on Chinese goods, lift its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and research and educational institutes and abandon irrational suppression of China’s technological progress.”