US in Line of Fire as China Toughens up Foreign Policy

The Guardian reports on comments made by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at a conference in Germany:

The country’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, threatened retaliation for American arms sales to Taiwan, and made it clear that China was prepared to stand alone among the permanent members of the UN security council in opposing sanctions against Iran.

He insisted Iran had not closed the door on negotiations over the export of its uranium, and called for patience and “a more flexible, pragmatic and proactive policy” towards talks with Iran.

Speaking at a global security conference in Munich, Yang also rejected western criticism on internet freedoms and China’s role at the Copenhagen global warming summit in December.

He said it was time for China’s voice to be listened to with more respect on the world stage.

Also from the Christian Science Monitor:

Today Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, speaking with unusual bluntness in front of 300 leading diplomats – including senior US officials – here in Munich publicly stated that China is getting stronger on the international stage. He said the US was violating international law by a proposed arms sale to Taiwan, offered that China’s TV and radio news service contains “more solid” and reliable news than Western media, and that China is not ready to address sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, stating instead that the Islamic Republic “has not totally closed the door on the IAEA.”

Transatlantic – meet the Pacific.

Foreign Minister Yang is the first Chinese official to speak at the annual Munich Security Conference, the premier transatlantic security meeting, in its 46 year history. He turned heads in the group at a time when the People’s Republic and the US have come to loggerheads over Taiwan arms sales, Internet freedom, currency rates, and climate policy coming out of the Copenhagen meeting in December.

“I haven’t heard a high-ranking Chinese official say, ‘Yes, we are strong,’ in a public setting before,” said a senior German diplomat. “It was a very assertive message, different, and it means we will soon see a different Chinese policy.”

See also a Xinhua report on Yang’s remarks and “China sees how the West was won” from The Australian.

February 5, 2010 2:50 PM
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