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China says US eagerness to engage is an ‘illusion’

China says US eagerness to engage is an ‘illusion’

BEIJING, June 13 (Reuters) – A Chinese state-affiliated social media commentator accused the United States on Tuesday of playing tricks and creating an “illusion” that it is eager to engage, days before an expected visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The lead up to the high-stakes visit has been marred by new U.S. accusations of Chinese spying and scathing Chinese questioning of Washington’s sincerity in improving badly frayed ties.

While the U.S. State Department has not announced Blinken’s visit, a U.S. official has said he will be in China for talks on June 18. In February, he cancelled a visit to Beijing after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew across the United States.

“Every time they say they want to meet, the United States plays a role and creates the false illusion that it is eager to communicate while at the same time repeatedly testing and provoking China’s fundamental principles,” Yuyuan Tantian, a social media user affiliated with state broadcaster CCTV, wrote in an article.

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U.S. officials, including Blinken himself, have in recent days said China had been spying from Cuba for some time and upgraded its intelligence gathering facilities there in 2019.

Beijing and Havana have rejected the accusation as false.

On Monday, Blinken said China’s efforts in Cuba were part of a global effort to expand its presence overseas, and U.S. action to address it since President Joe Biden came to power in 2021 had produced “results”, without specifying what those results were.

Flags of U.S. and China are seen in this illustration picture taken August 2, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

The balloon incident in February was a “farce”, and a request by the U.S. defence secretary to meet his Chinese counterpart at a conference in Singapore this month, which China rejected, was nothing by a “carefully crafted” performance, the Chinese social media commentator wrote.

‘HYSTERIA’

On Monday, the U.S. added 43 entities – including 31 from China – to an export control list for training Chinese military pilots and other activities that threaten U.S. national security.

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the United States was abusing its power by repeatedly citing national security, to a point of “hysteria”.

Compounding the pessimism over the Blinken visit, a man on Tuesday sprayed painted anti-American graffiti on the wall and a gate of the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong.

Media footage showed the word “hegemony” in English and the words “double standards” in simplified Chinese characters, which are used in mainland China as opposed to a traditional script common in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong.

“Since the U.S. has repeatedly emphasised the need to strengthen high-level communication with China, whether Blinken will visit China is a litmus test of U.S. sincerity and political manoeuvring,” Chinese state tabloid Global Times wrote in an editorial on Sunday.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Robert Birsel

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Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Published: 2023-06-13 08:13:00

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