BEIJING (Dispatches) -- China’s foreign minister has urged Washington to lift sanctions and to stop interfering in the country’s internal affairs and suppressing its tech sector, in his first big speech on U.S.-China relations since Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Wang Yi called on Washington to "abandon irrational suppression of China’s technological progress” at a U.S.-China forum in Beijing on Monday.
He also insisted that the U.S. stop meddling in its domestic issues, saying that "a good-mannered gentleman never thrusts his knife and fork into the food on someone else’s plate”.
The demands followed a series of frosty exchanges between Beijing and Washington in the early weeks of the Biden administration, with the U.S. president stressing that he would continue to speak out on human and civil rights.
Biden used his first call with Chinese president Xi Jinping to raise concerns over the treatment of the Uighurs, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described as "genocide”.
The Biden administration has signaled that it had no intention of rolling back tariffs in the near term. One senior U.S. official recently said that the White House did not want to give up the leverage the measures provided, particularly before it had talked widely with U.S. allies and come up with a strategy to deal with China.
The administration has also made clear it intends to restrict the export of sensitive technology to China, but will do so in a more coordinated manner with its allies than occurred during the Trump administration.
Biden told the Munich Security Conference last week that the U.S. and its allies "must prepare together for a long-term strategic competition with China”.
Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing and a government adviser, said Wang’s speech "drew the bottom lines for Sino-U.S. relations and shows that the Chinese side will not make concessions first”.
Wang said the main reason for the deterioration of relations was that "the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels”, and urged the resumption of exchanges in areas such as academia.
The remarks came three weeks after Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy official, blamed for the strained U.S.-China relationship on the Trump administration.