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Chinese foreign minister takes firm tone, calls for ‘non-interference’ between China and the U.S.

The flags of China, U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party are displayed in a flag stall at the Yiwu Wholesale Market in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, China, May 10, 2019.

Aly Song | Reuters

BEIJING — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday that the U.S. needs to remove “unreasonable restrictions” for the two countries’ relationship to move forward under President Joe Biden’s administration.

Wang’s remarks come as tensions between the U.S. and China have escalated in the last few years under former President Donald Trump, whose term ended in January. So far, the Biden administration has maintained a tough position on China — calling the country a more assertive “competitor” — and raised concerns about Beijing’s stance around Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

China’s central government considers those issues part of its domestic matters.

“Speaking of China-U.S. relations, I believe first of all both sides need to abide by the principle of non-interference in each others’ internal affairs,” Wang said. That’s according to an official English translation of his Mandarin-language remarks at a press conference held alongside the “Two Sessions” annual parliamentary meeting in Beijing, the country’s biggest political event of the year.

Biden-Xi phone call

Biden had raised “fundamental concerns” about Beijing’s actions on issues such as Hong Kong in a two-hour phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping in February ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, according to the White House. At the time, the two leaders also discussed how to counter the coronavirus pandemic, working together on climate change and preventing weapons proliferation.

Wang said Sunday the two countries could also cooperate on the economic recovery from the pandemic, and pointed to the phone call as a positive basis for rebuilding the bilateral relationship.

“We’re ready to work with the United States to follow through on the outcome of this important phone call and set China-U.S. relations on a new path of healthy and steady growth,” he said.

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