China’s top diplomat blames US ‘paranoia’ as ties unravel

State Councillor Wang Yi says US actions on Hong Kong, Uighurs ‘seriously damaging hard-won foundation of mutual trust’.

Wang Yi - Pompeo
Beijing has strongly condemned the US moves against Beijing which it says represent serious interference in its domestic affairs [File: Andy Wong/AP]

China’s most senior diplomat Wang Yi said on Friday that the United States had seriously damaged the hard-won mutual trust between the countries by criticising Beijing over issues such as Hong Kong and the treatment of Muslim Uighurs.

“Such behaviour is almost paranoid, and is indeed rare in international exchanges, seriously damaging the hard-won foundation of mutual trust between China and the United States, and seriously weakening the United States’ international credibility,” said State Councillor Wang.

Wang, who is also China’s foreign minister, said there were deep-seated issues that need to be addressed and resolved between the sides, issues that are increasingly challenging the future of the countries’ relationship.

He said the US had used various international occasions to vilify China’s social system, development path, and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries, and charged China with all kinds of unwarranted crimes.

Wang was speaking in Beijing at an annual symposium on international affairs and China’s diplomacy.

Tensions between the two

Bilateral tensions over issues such as the handling of the protests in Hong Kong and Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang have flared in recent months, as the countries worked towards a deal to end a trade war between them.

On Thursday, a new wave of US tariffs worth $160bn was averted when US President Donald Trump announced he had signed an initial deal with China.

Prior to that, the US had introduced several pieces of legislation that could potentially target top Chinese officials with sanctions over human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The resolution on Hong Kong, which was signed by President Trump, requires that Hong Kong’s special trade status with the US be reviewed and threatens sanctions for alleged human rights violations committed by Hong Kong police against unarmed civilians.

In Xinjiang, the US has accused China of involuntarily detaining at least a million Muslim Uighurs in “modern-day concentration camps” beginning in 2017.

Beijing has strongly condemned the legislation and other US moves which it says represent serious interference in its domestic affairs.

Wang said on Friday that China will “resolutely fight against external forces that interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs” and “sever the black hands” supporting a revolution in Hong Kong.

Last month, China called on the US military to stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and to avoid adding “new uncertainties” over Taiwan, which is claimed by China.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies