Official Blasts ‘Quixotic’ U.S. Policy
BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- China must prepare for difficult times as the international situation is increasingly complex, President Xi Jinping said in comments carried by state media on Wednesday, as the U.S.-China trade war took a mounting toll on tech giant Huawei.
The world’s two largest economies have escalated tariff increases on each other’s imports after talks broke down to resolve their dispute, and the acrimony has intensified since Washington last week blacklisted Chinese telecom equipment company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
The listing, which curbs Huawei’s access to U.S.-made components, is a potentially devastating blow for the company that has rattled technology supply chains and investors, and saw several mobile carriers on Wednesday delay the launch of new Huawei smartphone handsets.
During a three-day trip this week to the southern province of Jiangxi, a cradle of China’s Communist revolution, Xi urged people to learn the lessons of the hardships of the past.
"Today, on the new Long March, we must overcome various major risks and challenges from home and abroad,” state news agency Xinhua paraphrased Xi as saying, referring to the 1934-36 trek of Communist Party members fleeing a civil war to a remote rural base, from where they re-grouped and eventually took power in 1949.
"Our country is still in a period of important strategic opportunities for development, but the international situation is increasingly complicated,” he said.
"We must be conscious of the long-term and complex nature of various unfavorable factors at home and abroad, and appropriately prepare for various difficult situations.”
No further trade talks between top Chinese and U.S. negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended on May 10, the same day President Donald Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and took steps to levy duties on all remaining Chinese imports.
Negotiations between the United States and China have stalled since early May, when Chinese officials sought major changes to the text of a proposed deal that the Trump administration says had been largely agreed.
China told the world’s main disarmament forum on Wednesday that U.S. foreign policy was destabilizing, baffling and redolent of Don Quixote, the Spanish fictional hero whose misplaced determination leads him on a series of doomed endeavors.
"The Cold War mentality has come back to drive the security strategy and policy of a major power,” China’s disarmament ambassador Li Song told the Conference on Disarmament, a long-stalemated arena for arms talks at the United Nations in Geneva.
"In particular the U.S. keeps saying other countries make it feel unsafe – this is truly baffling,” he said.
Li was responding to U.S. calls for other nuclear powers to accept shared standards on nuclear weapons transparency, which he said represented an attempt by Washington to bully weaker powers into accepting a U.S.-designed set of rules.
The idea of demanding such shared standards made a mockery of the situation the world was facing, Li said, with an international security environment characterized by a pervasive sense of insecurity, in which "unilateral and bullying practices” were the new forms of hegemony.
"We cannot but help be reminded by Don Quixote, depicted in Cervante’s writing, who was all geared up and belligerently ready to tilt at windmills,” Li said, referring to Spain’s most famous work of literature, a 17th century work by Miguel de Cervantes.
"Don Quixote” is the story of an errant, daydreaming knight and his faithful servant Sancho Panza. The hero attacks windmills, believing them to be giants, making his name a byword for attacking imaginary enemies.
"National security policy informed by such a mindset is itself a potential threat to international peace and security,” Li said.
Other issues in the growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship include tensions over navigation in the South China, a trade war, U.S. sanctions and Taiwan.
A senior UN disarmament expert said on Tuesday that the risk of nuclear weapons being used was now at its highest since World War Two, an urgent issue the world should take more seriously.
Li said the United States pursued its security interests at the cost of international rules, made a habit of sabotaging and tearing up deals, while expanding its own offensive and defensive capabilities, "adding to tensions, stoking (an) arms race and eroding strategic stability.”
By choosing to see countries as rivals, Li said, the United States was likely to turn them into enemies, even though they had no such intention.