Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech on Monday where he warned other world leaders against starting a “new Cold War.”
“To build small cliques or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others … will only push the world into division,” Xi said at the annual World Economic Forum, which was held virtually this year.
“We should respect and accommodate differences, avoid meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and resolve disagreements through consultation and dialogue,” he said.
While he didn’t directly mention US-China tensions, Xi’s comments were clearly about the souring relations between Washington and Beijing.
The Trump administration enacted a series of hardline policies against China in its final days through sanctions and blacklisting Chinese firms from US investments. Judging by comments from Biden administration officials, that pressure is not going to let up.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked on Monday if Xi’s comments could change the current administration’s stance on Beijing. “No. I think our approach to China remains what it has been since — for the last months, if not longer. We’re in a serious competition with China,” she said.
“Strategic competition with China is a defining feature of the 21st century. China is engaged in conduct that it hurts American workers, blunts our technological edge, and threatens our alliances and our influence in international organizations,” Psaki added.
One feature of the increased tensions between the US and China has been an uptick in US military activity in the Pacific. The Trump administration frequently sailed warships and flew spy planes near China’s coast, something the Biden administration seems eager to continue. On Saturday, the US deployed an aircraft carrier strike group to the South China Sea.