China accuses US of ‘Cold War mentality’ after release of Biden national security strategy

Mao Ning
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning gestures during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Thursday, Oct 13, 2022. The Chinese government on Thursday accused Washington of “Cold War thinking” and appealed for efforts to repair strained relations after President Joe Biden released a national security strategy that calls for “out-competing China” and blocking its efforts to reshape global affairs. (AP Photo/Liu Zheng)

China’s foreign ministry on Thursday slammed President Biden’s new national security strategy that portrays China as trying to “reshape the international order” and emphasizes the U.S. will try to out-compete Beijing’s influence.

“We oppose the outdated Cold War mentality and zero-sum mindset,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press briefing.

“We see no benefit in any rhetoric or act that plays up geographical conflict or major power competition, for they go against the trend of the times and the aspiration of the international community,” she continued. “They are not going to be welcomed and will not succeed.”

The new strategy, which the White House released on Wednesday, calls the coming years a “decisive decade” in fighting global challenges, focusing broadly on investing domestically, building alliances abroad and modernizing the U.S. military.

It also stresses a need to compete with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and contain Russia as it continues its war on Ukraine. White House officials described China as “America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge.”

“The PRC is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do it,” the strategy states. “Beijing has ambitions to create an enhanced sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and to become the world’s leading power.” 

U.S.-China relations have become more tense amid concerns over Beijing’s desire to reunify with the self-governing, democratic island of Taiwan and other regional security issues.

The two countries have both looked to dominate emerging technology markets, like 5G infrastructure and semiconductors. 

In one of the Biden administration’s latest moves to combat China’s economic influence, the U.S. updated its export controls to make it more difficult for China to manufacture advanced computing chips, a move that was met with condemnation from Beijing. 

When asked about the new national security strategy’s characterization of China as the most consequential challenge to the global order after Russia’s invasion, Mao denounced the Biden administration’s increasingly aggressive posture.

“China and the U.S. are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country with a responsibility of preserving world peace and stability and promoting economic prosperity and development,” Mao said on Thursday. “China and the U.S. stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. The US needs to follow the principle of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.”

Mao’s likening of the national security strategy to the Cold War is at odds with the Biden administration, which has expressed a willingness to cooperate with any rival that is willing to “work constructively.”

“The strategy also makes clear that we avoid seeing the world solely through the prism of strategic competition,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters while previewing the strategy. 

“And we will not try to divide the world into rigid blocks,” Sullivan continued. “We are not seeking to have competition tip over into confrontation or a new Cold War. And we are not engaging each country as simply a proxy battleground. We’re going to engage countries on their own terms and pursue an affirmative agenda to advance common interests and to promote stability and prosperity.”

Tags China Jake Sullivan Joe Biden Mao Ning U.S.-China relations

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