China urges US to correct mistakes in airship incident

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Photo taken on May 28, 2021 shows the U.S. Capitol building behind a traffic sign in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

A senior Chinese diplomat on Saturday urged the United States to show sincerity, correct its mistakes, acknowledge and repair the damage it has done to the China-U.S. relations over the Chinese civilian unmanned airship incident.

Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks when answering questions on China-U.S. relations at a China session of the ongoing 59th Munich Security Conference (MSC).

Calling the incident a political farce created by the U.S., Wang said China had clearly told the U.S. that the Chinese civilian unmanned airship, affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, deviated from its planned course and entered the U.S. airspace, and China had urged the U.S. to jointly handle the issue in a rational and professional manner.

Photo taken on Sept. 3, 2021 shows the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

"Unfortunately, the U.S. ignored the basic facts and brazenly sent a fighter jet to shoot down the non-threatening airship with a missile," he said. "Such an unthinkable and hysterical action is, without doubt, excessive use of force, and clearly violates common practice and relevant international law."

China firmly opposes and has strongly protested against the U.S. over its action, said Wang, also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

"A lot of balloons are flying over the Earth every day. Does the U.S. want to shoot them all down?" he questioned. "Such an action is no proof of the American power, but the exact opposite."

He urged the U.S. to stop doing such absurd things out of domestic political needs and to correct its mistakes.

The senior Chinese diplomat said the underlying reason why the unexpected incident has caused such a stir in bilateral relations is the United States' wrong perception and strategic misjudgment of China.

Giant panda cub "Xiao Qi Ji" (R) and its mother "Mei Xiang" enjoy an ice cake at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., the United States, April 16, 2022.(Xinhua/Liu Jie)

Wang said China's policy toward the U.S., based on the clear and transparent principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, encourages exploring the right way for two major countries with different social systems, histories and cultures to get along.

On the contrary, the U.S. sees China as the gravest geopolitical challenge and strategic competitor in its China policy, and it is using all means possible to block and suppress China with such an erroneous view of China, Wang noted.

He said that China has never been afraid of competition despite all the U.S. talking about competing with China, but the competition should be fair and rules-based.

The Chinese diplomat denounced the United States' CHIPS and Science Act as unilateral and self-serving, saying that the act uses state power to suppress Chinese companies, violates the rules of the World Trade Organization and seriously disrupts the stability of the global industrial and supply chains.

Visitors take photos as they view exhibits introducing China's village technology development at the "Countryside, The Future" exhibition in New York, the United States, on Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The act shows that the U.S. is standing against the free trade that it advocates, Wang said, adding that it will not only undermine the legitimate rights and interests of all other countries, but also compromise the credibility and interests of the U.S. itself.

"A virtuous man acquires wealth in an upright and just way," Wang cited an ancient Chinese saying, noting that the U.S. has torn apart its disguise in an attempt to blatantly plunder.

Wang urged the U.S. to view China's development in a fair and objective way, pursue a positive and pragmatic China policy, and work together with China to bring China-U.S. relations back to the track of sound and stable development.

This serves the interests of the two countries and peoples and also meets the common expectation of the international community, he added.

Some 150 senior officials, including over 40 heads of state and government, and leaders of international organizations joined this year's MSC to discuss pressing global security challenges and concerns. 

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