Qin Gang — China’s new ambassador to the United States — will reportedly assert the nation’s growing power during his tenure in Washington.
On Wednesday, a communication from Qin’s office demanded that China be treated with “equality” as a fellow influential power:
Both China and the United States are major countries with important influence in the world. Since we established diplomatic relations over 40 years ago, China-U.S. relations have gone through an extraordinary journey amidst twists and turns. At this new historical juncture, our two countries need to follow the trend of the times and the general expectation of the international community, treat each other with mutual respect and equality, and pursue peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, as this will be the blessing of our two peoples and the whole world. The Chinese people will never stop their quest for a better life.
The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government will never stop the endeavor to pursue happiness for the people. China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development, and will continue to advance world peace, contribute to global development, and uphold international order. It will work with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The New York Times likewise reported that the appointment signals a counter to the Biden administration’s efforts to parry rising Chinese influence across the globe:
In his new role, Mr. Qin will be at the front of efforts by China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, to reshape China’s relationship with Washington, which has spiraled to its lowest point in decades. Beijing sees the Biden administration as continuing to challenge China’s rise, and it has pushed back against Washington’s efforts to rally democratic countries to its side.
Mr. Qin will most likely convey to Washington that Mr. Xi expects his country to be treated as a great power, reflecting a confidence that stems in part from China’s success in controlling the coronavirus epidemic.
Since his inauguration, President Joe Biden has faced criticism for projecting weakness on the world stage — opening a window for China to assert its own strength.
In March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken repeated his desire for a “rule-based international order” during a meeting with Chinese officials in Alaska. The diplomats told Blinken that the United States “does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength” and that “whether judged by population scale or the trend of the world, the Western world does not represent the global public opinion.”
“They came to dictate,” explained China analyst Gordon Chang. “China’s arrogant and insecure leaders are at their most dangerous. Deterrence is failing. Biden’s most urgent task is to reestablish it.”
The Chinese Communist Party faces international criticism for holding members of the Uyghur ethnic minority in concentration camps, enacting a law that suppresses civil liberties in Hong Kong, and taking an aggressive posture toward the island nation of Taiwan, calling for its “complete unification” under the mainland’s rule.
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