Chinese Communists Escalate Rhetoric Against America

Beijing’s sharpened tone is in part a reaction to a growing realization in Washington that a rising Communist China presents a threat to America.

AP/Mark Schiefelbein
The Chinese foreign minister, Qin Gang, during a press conference at Beijing, March 7, 2023. AP/Mark Schiefelbein

As China’s economy struggles to rebound from Beijing’s heavy-handed Covid policies, Communist Party leaders are publicly honing their anti-American rhetoric, signaling an escalation in what President Biden calls a “competition” between the two superpowers. 

“Western countries, led by the U.S., have implemented all-around containment, encirclement, and suppression against us, bringing unprecedentedly severe challenges to our country’s development,” Chairman Xi told the annual meeting of the communist state’s rubber-stamp legislature Monday. 

Beijing’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, was even blunter, accusing America of instigating “confrontation” with his country. Washington has “entirely deviated from the rational and sound track,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the legislative gathering.

Two months into his new job, Mr. Qin cautioned against an “inevitable” conflict and warned Washington against interfering in Taiwan. Mr. Xi, meanwhile, announced a reshuffle of government ministries that is meant to revamp the country’s advanced technology industries, including the manufacturing of semiconductors and other items China currently imports. 

Beijing’s sharpened tone is in part a reaction to a growing realization in Washington that a rising Communist China presents a threat to America. Most recently it was brought into focus when a spy balloon was spotted flying over American airspace. “Winning the competition with China should unite all of us,” Mr. Biden said during his State of the Union address last month, shortly after the balloon was downed. 

The House select committee on China, led by Representative Mike Gallagher, forged a rare bipartisan agreement over the need to toughen policy toward the communist country. The era of American “engagement” with China, which started with President Nixon’s 1972 Beijing’s visit, seems to be ending in tandem with Mr. Xi’s militarism and threats.

“Xi and Qin are responding to U.S. policies that started under the Trump administration,” a former State Department China hand and retired air force general, David Stilwell, tells the Sun. These policies “demand Beijing play fair, and they don’t like it,” he added. “Any suggestion that U.S. policy is somehow escalatory doesn’t reflect the completely imbalanced nature of dealing with Beijing.”

Washington increasingly sees engagement — from granting Communist China almost favorable nation status and admitting it as a member of the World Trade Organization, to American over-reliance on essential made-in-China manufactured goods — as harmful to American interests.

Mr. Xi is well aware of that mood change and he is lashing out. Beijing’s “sharpened language says they’ve run out of the other options and of trusted Americans who carry their messages for them,” General Stilwell says.

Washington now realizes that rather than a global partner,  relations with an adversarial Communist China are “an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century — and the most fundamental freedoms are at stake,” as Mr. Gallagher put it in his opening remarks at the launch of the special committee he heads. 

Beijing, in turn, no longer hides behind opaque and vague statements, instead openly bringing it all out. “If the United States does not hit the brake, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there surely will be conflict and confrontation,” Mr. Qui was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“Such competition is a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity,” Mr. Qin said.

On Taiwan, the foreign minister said America is “disrespecting China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” so conflict is “inevitable” unless Mr. Biden changes course. He added: “Why does the U.S. ask China not to provide weapons to Russia, while it keeps selling arms to Taiwan?”

The Taiwanese defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, said on Monday that the island must be on alert for a “sudden entry” by Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army into areas close to Taiwan. “I specifically make these comments this year, meaning they are making such preparations,” Mr. Chiu said. “They would use force if they really have to.”

Meanwhile, an Air Force officer, Lieutenant General Clint Hinote, said that after participating in recent Pentagon war games, he became concerned that PLA missiles could turn American combat aircraft and munitions in the region into “smoldering ruins in a matter of days,” the Wall Street Journal reports

“My response was, ‘Holy crap. We are going to lose if we fight like this,’” General Hinote said. 

Mr. Xi no longer hides his goal of replacing America as world leader, aiming to instill China’s communist system as a global governance model. Emerging from two years of strict closures under his “zero-Covid” policy, the communist leader hopes to lead an economic rebound, even as he sticks by a vow to “reunite” with Taiwan, if needed by military force. 

 “The United States, our allies, partners and like-minded friends have a responsibility to mobilize all instruments of national power, including a strong tech sector, to make sure that Xi’s version of the Chinese dream does not come to pass,” President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, wrote Monday. 

The New York Sun

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