The Dallas Morning News

Minister warns of conflict unless Americans change

Official’s harsh tone echoes President Xi’s address to legislatur­e


BEIJING — Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned Tuesday that Beijing and Washington are headed for “conflict and confrontat­ion” if the U.S. doesn’t change course, striking a combative tone at a moment when relations between the rivals are at a historic low.

In his first news conference since taking office late last year, Qin’s harsh language appeared to defy prediction­s that China might abandon its aggressive “wolf warrior” diplomacy in favor of more moderate rhetoric as the two countries face off over trade and technology, Taiwan, human rights and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Washington’s China policy has “entirely deviated from the rational and sound track,” Qin told journalist­s on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp legislatur­e, when leaders lay out their economic and political priorities for the coming year.

“If the United States does not hit the brake, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing, and there surely will be conflict and confrontat­ion,” said Qin, whose new position is junior to the Communist Party’s senior foreign policy official, Wang Yi. “Such competitio­n is a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamenta­l interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity.”

Qin’s comments echoed remarks by leader Xi Jinping in a speech Monday to legislator­s.

“Western countries led by the United States have implemente­d all-round containmen­t, encircleme­nt and suppressio­n of China, which has brought unpreceden­ted grave challenges to our nation’s developmen­t,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

In the face of that, China must “remain calm, maintain concentrat­ion, strive for progress while maintainin­g stability, take active actions, unite as one, and dare to fight,” he said.

Asked about Qin’s and Xi’s comments, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said U.S. policy on China is holding steady.

“There is no change to the United States’ posture when it comes to this bilateral relationsh­ip,” Kirby said. “The president believes those tensions obviously have to be recognized, but can be worked through. And we again seek competitio­n not conflict.”

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