China has cautioned the United States against forcing other countries to accept its ideals, warning that US military activities are increasing under President Joe Biden.
In his first address to Congress, the US president on Wednesday noted that his country was in a competition with China and others to win the 21st century.
“Autocrats think democracies can’t compete,” he said, alleging that the US welcomed competition and was not looking for conflict.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said it was normal for the US and China to compete in some areas, but the two sides must not duel instead of true completion.
“This kind of competition should be a track and field race, not a duel to the death,” he told a regular press conference held in capital Beijing, Wang said, warning that “forcing other countries to accept one’s democratic system… will only create divisions, intensify tension, and undermine stability.”
The American president had said in his address to Congress that the US would stand up to what he called unfair trade practices, including subsidies for state-owned enterprises and intellectual property theft.
However, Wang lambasted Biden for “violating the market principle of fair competition” and “politicizing” issues such as economy, trade, and technology, referring to the persisting trade war between the US and China in recent years.
“China is committed to developing a relationship with the US based on non-conflict and non-confrontation,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman added.
US military activities increasing under Biden
Separately on Thursday, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement that the US, since Biden’s inauguration in January, has sent more warships to China’s maritime territory by 20 percent, compared to last year.
Wu said the frequency of US reconnaissance aircraft activity in the region has also increased by 40 percent, adding China “resolutely opposes this.”
“The US frequently sends warships and planes to carry out activities in maritime waters and airspace near China, advancing regional militarization and threatening regional peace and stability,” he said.
“We urge the US side to strictly restrain its frontline forces, abide by regulations including the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters and International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and prevent similar dangerous incidents from happening again,” Wu further added.
Early into his presidency, Biden has displayed a willingness to continue America’s typically hostile posture toward China, including by challenging Chinese sovereignty over Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) and in areas in the South and East China Seas.
A week after he took office, Biden underscored support for Japan, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei through multiple calls and statements.