BEIJING (AP) — China says it was smeared in U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address that repeatedly mentioned competition between the two countries.
China does not fear competing with the U.S. but is “opposed to defining the entire China-U.S. relationship in terms of competition,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a daily briefing Wednesday.
“It is not the practice of a responsible country to smear a country or restrict the country’s legitimate development rights under the excuse of competition, even at the expense of disrupting the global industrial and supply chain,” Mao said.
China will defend its interests and the U.S. should work with it to “promote the return of bilateral relations to a track of sound and stable development,” she said.
Mao’s comments came against a background of raging disputes over trade, Taiwan, human rights and access to advanced technologies.
Biden mentioned China and its leader, Xi Jinping, at least seven times in his address Tuesday night, focusing mainly on how the U.S. was increasingly prepared to compete with Beijing while also seeking to avoid conflict.
“I’ve made clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict,” Biden said.
“I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America strong. Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, and that China’s government is intent on dominating,” he said.
Biden said his administration is “committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world.”
However, he also warned that “if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country,” a pointed reference to the shooting down on Saturday of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had traversed the continental United States.
China says the balloon was an unmanned civilian airship used for meteorological research and has strongly protested the U.S. action while threatening unspecified countermeasures.
The incident prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a trip to China this week that had stirred hopes of reversing the continued deterioration of relations between Beijing and Washington.