China, in a particularly sharp tone, accused the United States on Tuesday of stoking tensions between the two powers and warned of the risk of "conflict", which Washington denied.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday that "if the United States continues to go down the wrong path and does not slow down, no safeguards can prevent the derailment" of relations between Beijing and Washington. .
If this happens, "there will inevitably be a conflict and a confrontation", added Mr. Qin, questioned in a press conference.
“We seek strategic competition with China, we do not seek conflict and nothing in our approach (…) should lead anyone to think that we want conflict,” a White House spokesperson replied on Tuesday. , John Kirby.
"We want to be in competition, and we want to win this competition with China, but we absolutely want to stay at this level", he assured, repeating in particular that there had been "no change " of the American position concerning Taiwan, a thorny subject among all.
The day before, President Xi Jinping had issued, according to a report by the New China news agency, a rare direct criticism of the United States, reproaching them by name for involving Western countries in "a policy of containment , encirclement and repression against China".
Disputes between the two superpowers have multiplied in recent years: the status of Taiwan, tensions in the South China Sea, imbalance in the trade balance, treatment of Uyghur Muslims, links with Russia.
Last month, the destruction by the United States of a Chinese balloon further strained relations, with the Biden administration accusing the craft of spying on its territory, which China strongly denies.
China and the United States are waging a fierce battle for the manufacture of semiconductors, these electronic components essential to the operation of smartphones, connected cars but also military equipment.
In the name of national security, Washington has increased sanctions against Chinese chipmakers in recent months.
"The uncertain and unpredictable factors have increased significantly" for China, Xi Jinping said, again according to a report from New China.
The 69-year-old leader, who will get an unprecedented third presidential term in a few days, spoke to members of an advisory committee during the annual session of the Chinese Parliament.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who was previously ambassador to Washington, was particularly sharp, calling the attitude of American politicians towards China "a kind of hysterical neo-McCarthyism".
He also deplored recent accusations by some Western countries claiming, without proof, that China intends to supply arms to Russia for its war against Ukraine.
In late February, China released a 12-point document urging Moscow and Kyiv to hold peace talks.
The text also calls for respecting the territorial integrity of all countries - also implying that of Ukraine, part of whose territory is under Russian control.
Cautiously hailed by kyiv, this Chinese document had been received with more skepticism on the Western side because Beijing, officially neutral, has never publicly condemned Moscow.
Qin Gang said China was "neither the cause of the crisis, nor a party, and it has not provided arms to any of the parties", calling for the start of peace talks "as soon as as possible".
The Beijing-Moscow relationship does not pose "a threat to any country in the world", he stressed.
07/03/2023 21:25:43 - Beijing (AFP) - © 2023 AFP