The United States must stop “disrupting” the Beijing Winter Olympics. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this on Thursday during a conversation with his American counterpart Antony Blinken. The Winter Games will take place from February 4 to 20.
China hopes to show its ability to host a significant event in a pandemic. In recent months, the American pressure on Beijing, in particular, has increased. China is accused of violating the rights of the ethnic minority Uyghurs. The US had announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the Winter Games, meaning it would not send official diplomatic representatives to the event. Washington also convinced some Western allies to do the same.
“At the moment, the absolute priority is that the United States stop disrupting the Beijing Winter Olympics,” Wang Yi told Blinken, according to a press release issued by China’s foreign ministry.
He also called on Washington to “stop playing fire” on Taiwan. Beijing is not happy that the US and Taiwan are tightening ties. As a result, more Chinese planes have flown into the island’s identification zone in recent months.
The Chinese minister also said he defended Russia’s “reasonable concerns” over the Ukraine crisis. “We call on all parties to calm down, to refrain from escalating tensions and escalating the crisis.”
Washington and its European allies accuse Moscow of rallying some 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border for an invasion. Moscow denies that but demands that NATO refuse Ukraine’s membership. An unacceptable demand for the alliance.
Without mentioning NATO, the Chinese minister stated that “regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening and expanding military blocs”. However, he ruled that “Russia’s reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously and resolved”.
US Secretary of State Blinken emphasized that new Russian aggression against Ukraine would pose global risks to security and the economy. In his view, “the responsible path” is one of de-escalation and diplomacy, said US State Department spokesman Ned Price.