May 24, 2020 - World

Beijing says U.S. should give up "wishful thinking" of changing China

Trump and Chinese Pres Xi Jinping

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Artyom Ivanov\Tass via Getty Images.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday that the U.S. should stop its "wishful thinking" of trying to change China, accusing the Trump administration of taking actions that are pushing the two nations toward a "new Cold War," Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: U.S.-China relations have grown increasingly sour during the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump and many of his Republican allies directly blame the Communist Party's cover-up in the early days of the Wuhan outbreak for allowing the virus to spread throughout the world.

  • Tensions could further spiral if China moves forward with a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong that could dramatically constrain the city's autonomy.
  • White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that the U.S. government will likely impose economic sanctions if Beijing follows through.

What they're saying: Wang said that "some U.S. political forces are taking hostage of China-U.S. relations" and that "this is dangerous and will endanger global peace."

  • "China has no intention to change the U.S., nor to replace the U.S. It is also wishful thinking for the U.S. to change China," Wang argued.

Wang also warned U.S. officials "not to challenge China’s red line" on Taiwan, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the rare step of congratulating Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on her second-term inauguration.

  • China considers the island of Taiwan a province, and Beijing threatened action against the U.S. last week for Pompeo's alleged "interference" in domestic affairs.
  • "Reunification between the two sides of the Strait is an inevitable trend of history, no one and no force can stop it," Wang said.

The big picture: It's unlikely that the Trump administration will ease up on its hawkish rhetoric against China, whose authoritarian turn has caused Americans' views of the country to darken dramatically.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opened a press conference last week by saying, "The media’s focus on the current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that’s presented by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Go deeper: The "new Cold War" started in Beijing

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