Wang Yi: China not seeking to displace US as top power

Chinese foreign minister says Beijing and Washington can overcome 'current difficulties' amid burgeoning trade war.

    Wang said China has exercised 'utmost restraint' in the South China Sea, another frontier in its rivalry with the US [File: AP]
    Wang said China has exercised 'utmost restraint' in the South China Sea, another frontier in its rivalry with the US [File: AP]

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed fears on Friday that his country was seeking to overtake the United States as the pre-eminent world power, saying Beijing wants global harmony.

    Pointing to recent works of US scholars who say China is stepping up efforts for hegemony, Wang said: "I want to tell you very clearly that this is a serious strategic misjudgment.

    "It is a misguided anticipation that will be extremely detrimental to US interests and the future of the United States," Wang told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, where he was attending the UN General Assembly.

    Wang also said there was "no cause for panic" over friction between Beijing and Washington and that "we can overcome current difficulties".

    At a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump accused Beijing of seeking to meddle in the November 6 congressional elections in the US, in what he described as a bid to stop him and his Republican Party from doing well because of his trade stance.

    Wang said concrete actions must be taken to maintain relations between China and the US and that "history will remember those who took the lead in the mist".

    China and the US are embroiled in a trade war, sparked by Trump's accusations that China has long sought to steal US intellectual property, limit access to its own market and unfairly subsidise state-owned companies.

    South China Sea dominance

    Wang also said China is fostering closer economic ties with Russia as the two economies are on the same page on international issues.

    He declared that further cooperation with China was key in pursuing the denuclearisation of its ally North Korea.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned members of the UN Security Council on Thursday they must "set the example" by enforcing sanctions on North Korea, as China and Russia suggested the council consider easing the tough measures.

    Wang noted China has exercised "utmost restraint" in the South China Sea and seeks peaceful solutions over disputed territory.

    He said Beijing has sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and people there feel the need for enhanced defences given heavy US military patrols.

    China, which says its intentions are peaceful, claims most of the South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion worth of trade passes every year.

    Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei also claim parts of the sea, which has vast oil and gas deposits and rich fishing grounds.

    In the last two years, China has been accused of expanding its military facilities on disputed islands.

    South China Sea: The world's next big war?

    UpFront

    South China Sea: The world's next big war?

    SOURCE: News agencies


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