Is the United States out to sabotage China? Chinese leaders think so.
President Xi Jinping accused Washington this week of trying to isolate his country and hold back its development. That reflects the ruling Communist Party’s growing frustration that its pursuit of prosperity and global influence is threatened by U.S. restrictions on access to technology, its support for Taiwan and other moves seen by Beijing as hostile.
Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, tries to appear to be above problems and usually makes blandly positive public comments. That made his complaint Monday all the more striking. Xi said a U.S.-led campaign of “containment and suppression” of China has “brought unprecedented, severe challenges.” He called on the public to “dare to fight.”
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Qin Gang sharpened the warning, saying Washington faces possible “conflict and confrontation” if it fails to change course.
“The foreign minister is speaking on behalf of a widely held view that the United States is coming after China and they have to defend themselves,” said John Delury, an international relations specialist at Yonsei University in Seoul.
China is hardly the only government to fume at Washington’s dominance of global strategic and economic affairs. But Chinese leaders see the United States as making extra effort to thwart Beijing as a challenger for regional and possibly global leadership.