China’s top diplomat has called for new US President Joe Biden’s administration to lift restrictions on trade and people-to-people contacts while ceasing what Beijing considers unwarranted interference in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s comments at a Foreign Ministry forum on US-China relations come as Beijing presses the new US administration 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 self-governing 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 US administration is reviewing and assessing its foreign policy,” Wang told diplomats, scholars and journalists at the Lanting Forum on Monday.
“We hope that the US policy makers 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 China-US relations.”
While Biden has pledged re-engagement and a more civil tone in US 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 neighbours, 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 on Friday, Biden said the US and its allies must “prepare together for a long-term 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 Indo-Pacific, worked so hard to build over the last 70 years,” the president said in remarks delivered virtually to the annual Munich Security Conference.