08 March 2023

Chinese leader accuses Washington of holding back development

08 March 2023

Chinese leaders have claimed the US is out to sabotage China’s development as a hi-tech nation.

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 US restrictions on access to technology, its support for Taiwan and other moves seen by Beijing as hostile.

The Chinese president said a US-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 said 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

“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.

Chinese leaders see the United States as making extra effort to thwart Beijing as a challenger for regional and possibly global leadership.

The ruling party wants to restore China’s historic role as a political and cultural leader, raise incomes by transforming the country into an inventor of technology, and unite what it considers the Chinese motherland by taking control of Taiwan.

Beijing sees those as positive goals, but American officials see them as threats.

They say Chinese development plans are based at least in part on stealing or pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology. Some warn Chinese competition might erode US industrial dominance and incomes.

Washington has set back Beijing’s plans by putting Chinese companies including its first global tech brand, Huawei, on a blacklist that limits access to processor chips and other technology.

That crippled Huawei’s smartphone brand, once one of the world’s biggest. American officials are lobbying European and other allies to avoid Huawei equipment when they upgrade phone networks.

Washington cites security fears, but Beijing says that is an excuse to hurt its fledgling competitors.

A State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said Washington wants to “coexist responsibly” within the global trade and political system and denied the US government wants to suppress China.

“This is not about containing China. This is not about suppressing China. This is not about holding China back,” Mr Price said in Washington.

“We want to have that constructive competition that is fair” and “doesn’t veer into that conflict.”

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