China offers to work with Biden, warns of new 'McCarthyism'

By: AFP      Published: 10:53 PM, 18 Dec, 2020
China offers to work with Biden, warns of new 'McCarthyism'

China's top diplomat on Friday offered cooperation on key priorities of President-elect Joe Biden, warning that Beijing's many US critics were creating an atmosphere of "McCarthyism" and ignoring common interests.

Taking aim at the hawkish approach of President Donald Trump, Foreign Minister Wang Yi voiced hope for a return of talks and "mutual trust" between the world's two largest economic powers after Biden takes over on January 20.

"It is important that US policy toward China return to objectivity and sensibility as early as possible," Wang said in a virtual address to the New York-based Asia Society.

Wang said that China saw "space for cooperation" with Biden on three of the four issues he has identified as immediate priorities -- Covid-19, economic recovery and climate change. Biden's fourth stated priority is racial equity.

On the pandemic, Wang said China was ready to assist the United States, including through continued production of face masks, and said Beijing and Washington could cooperate in manufacturing vaccines and assisting third countries.

"We hope that we will expand cooperation and manage differences through dialogue," Wang said.

The Trump administration has declared that decades of US engagement have failed with China, speaking of a global challenge from Beijing through its alleged rampant theft of intellectual property, espionage and its blitz of infrastructure projects around the world.

In recent months, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has terminated Chinese-funded exchange programs for Americans and tightened visa rules for Chinese students as well as members of the Communist Party and their families, likely affecting hundreds of millions of people.

"We see McCarthyism resurging and jeopardizing normal international exchanges," Wang said, referring to the witch hunt for communists purported to be in the US government led by Republican senator Joe McCarthy following World War II.

Wang accused unnamed senior US officials of "irresponsible presumption of guilt and emotional lashing-out."

"They ignore the vast common interests and room for cooperation between the two countries and insist that China is a main threat," Wang said.

"This is like misaligning the buttons on clothing. They get things wrong at the very beginning."

Biden, who invested significant time in diplomacy with China as vice president, has broadly agreed that Beijing poses a global challenge.

But he is expected to take a less bellicose tone than Trump, with his nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, speaking of potential cooperation on climate change and the pandemic.