The White House is responding to threats from a senior Chinese communist official who demanded the U.S. stop considering China a geopolitical threat or face consequences.
The Biden administration does not seek conflict with China’s communist regime, according to National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby.
“We seek a strategic competition with China,” Kirby said during a March 7 press call. “We do not seek conflict.”
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, has increasingly taken a more belligerent stance towards the United States since CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
Kirby reiterated that the United States was dedicated to managing the competition between the two powers responsibly.
“Everything that we’re doing is in keeping with the President’s guidance that we aim to compete, and we aim to win that competition with China, but we absolutely want to keep it at that level,” Kirby said.
His comments follow an inflammatory series of statements made by CCP Foreign Minister Qin Gang earlier in the day.
Qin delivered answers to pre-prepared questions at a conference on the sidelines of an annual regime meeting in Beijing. During the session, Qin accused the United States of suppressing China and threatened that the United States’ “distorted” attitude would result in “conflict and confrontation.”
Qin further added that “no amount of guardrails” could stop a “catastrophic conflict” should the United States continue to regard the regime as its “primary rival.”
The comments appear to be aligned with expert analysis which suggests that CCP leadership increasingly believes in its own propaganda, and may consider a war with the United States as inevitable despite U.S. efforts to deter such a course of events.
In recent weeks, Congress has stepped up actions to counter a range of threats posed by the CCP aggression, which has become an area of rare bipartisan consensus.
The White House on Tuesday reiterated that none of its policies towards Beijing had changed and that it would continue to pursue peaceful, if tense, relations between the two powers.
“The president’s approach to China has not changed,” White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said during a March 7 press briefing. “We’ve been very clear, we do not seek conflict and we do not want conflict.”
“What we’re seeking is competition. We’ve been very clear about that these last two years.”