US would be ‘stupid’ to treat China as an enemy, senior diplomat says

A senior Chinese diplomat told an international forum in Beijing Monday there could be “disastrous” consequences if the US treats China as an “enemy.”

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng warned against blaming Beijing for all of Washington’s problems, as both sides prepare to restart talks to end the year-long trade war.

“The economic imbalance, polarization between the rich and poor, the aging of infrastructure — all of those have their own causes, but it’s not because of China. (You) shouldn’t see China as the scapegoat,” Le told the World Peace Forum at Tsinghua University.

“It’s stupid to see China as (an) enemy and there will be disastrous consequences to do so.”

US President Donald Trump announced a temporary ceasefire in the raging trade war between the two countries in June, after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G20 in Japan.

Talks unexpectedly stalled in early May, with both sides blaming the other.

While trade negotiations between the two countries now seem to be back on track, tensions between Washington and Beijing are still rising on a number of fronts.

On Monday, the Trump administration approved a new $2 billion arms sale to Taiwan, including hundreds of Stinger missiles and 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks. The Chinese government has yet to respond to the approval. But in March China’s Defense Ministry said that Beijing was “firmly opposed to US arms sales to Taiwan and US military contact with Taiwan.”

In his speech Monday, Le alluded to accusations made by China’s state-run media that the US was deliberately delaying student visa approvals for applicants from China.

“This practice of using blood lineage and race as a label to hamper people-to-people exchanges between the two countries is unpopular,” the Chinese diplomat said.

US President Trump told reporters after his meeting with Xi on June 29 that he wanted to see more Chinese students studying in the US.

Le is considered to be a rising figure in the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Chinese politics expert Bill Bishop said he could be next in line to be Chinese ambassador to the United States.

“Current ambassador Cui Tiankai is well past the normal term here,” Bishop said, adding that there had been rumors of Cui’s imminent departure before. “Le is the only (potential replacement) I hear from people I consider credible.”