Top U.S. diplomat for East Asia calls China 'lawless bully'

By David Brunnstrom and Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said on Thursday China's recent actions around the world were not those of a responsible global actor, but of a 'lawless bully,' a further ratcheting up of rhetoric against Beijing as the U.S

Reuters September 18, 2020 00:11:14 IST
Top U.S. diplomat for East Asia calls China 'lawless bully'

Top US diplomat for East Asia calls China lawless bully

By David Brunnstrom and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said on Thursday China's recent actions around the world were not those of a responsible global actor, but of a "lawless bully," a further ratcheting up of rhetoric against Beijing as the U.S. election approaches.

In prepared testimony for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, David Stilwell said the United States was not asking other countries to choose sides, but to stand up against China's "malign" behavior and to protect their own sovereignty and economic interests.

At the same time, Stilwell said U.S. competition with China need not lead to conflict, and that the United States sought to cooperate with Beijing where interests aligned, for instance on North Korea.

Stilwell said in the past several months there had been "particularly egregious examples of Beijing's conduct."

These included violence on its border with India and "aggressive" moves in the South China Sea, around Taiwan, and in waters China disputes with Japan.

He also referred to alleged Chinese attempts to "wipe out" Mongolian and Tibetan culture, "a continued campaign of repression and forced labor" in Xinjiang and Beijing's imposition of a "draconian" National Security Law in Hong Kong.

"These are not the actions of a responsible global actor, but a lawless bully," he said.

China's embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Stilwell's remarks, but Beijing routinely rejects such criticisms as inaccurate and ill-intentioned.

Stilwell's comments came as the U.S. administration has stepped up criticism, sanctions and other actions against China as Republican President Donald Trump campaigns for reelection in November.

China has become the main foreign policy issue in the campaign. On Thursday, Senate Democrats announced their own program to counter China's global influence, unveiling sweeping legislation seeking to boost U.S. competitiveness and recast diplomacy with Beijing.

The top U.S. diplomat for European affairs, Philip Reeker, told the same Senate hearing Europe was "arguably" the central front in China's effort to supplant U.S. global leadership, but Russia remained the primary military threat there.

Reeker said the United States was working to set up a senior level meeting with the European Union late this month or early next to launch a dialogue on China.

Stilwell said Washington would continue to advance engagement with Taiwan, which China views as a lawless province, and provide it with arms to ensure it could defend itself, but stressed that Washington remained committed to a 'one-China' policy, which officially recognizes Beijing, not Taipei.

Earlier, China said it would make a "necessary response" to a visit to Taiwan by U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach that began on Thursday, and had lodged a complaint with Washington.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Patricia Zengerle, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.