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Beijing says US stoking new Cold War on China ahead of presidential election

China says the United States is triggering a new Cold War as a number of American politicians are looking for a scapegoat to rally further support for President Donald Trump ahead of the US presidential election in November.

China and the US are at loggerheads over a host of issues, including a new security law introduced in Hong Kong, the origins and handling of the COVID-19 contagious disease, Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea.

Washington and Beijing have also been engaged in an unprecedented trade war resulting in sanctions and counter-sanctions. They have also exchanged harsh words for the past several months.

Trump considers China as the West’s main rival, accusing Chinese President Xi Jinping of taking over trade and not telling the truth about the COVID-19 pandemic, which apparently originated in a Chinese city late last year.

The American president has even called the new respiratory disease the “China plague”, angering the Chinese government.

Beijing, in response, has fiercely defended its handling of the new coronavirus, repeatedly saying it “has been nothing but open, transparent and responsible” about the pandemic.

On Thursday, China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, said Washington had commenced a trade war with China, which it would not win.

“It is not China that has become assertive. It’s the other side of the Pacific Ocean who want to start new Cold War on China, so we have to make response to that,” he said in a press conference, stressing that Beijing was not interested in any kind of war, let alone a cold one.

“We have all seen what is happening in the United States, they tried to scapegoat China, they want to blame China for their problems,” Liu said, adding, “We all know this is an election year.”

The Chinese ambassador to London did not mention the incumbent US president or Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by name, but he noted that some American politicians were doing and saying anything to become the winner of the upcoming elections.

“They want to do anything including treating China as an enemy,” Liu further said.

“Probably they think they need an enemy, they think they want a Cold War but we have no interest, we keep telling America, China is not your enemy, China is your friend, your partner,” the envoy added.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington sought to build a global coalition to counter China as he claimed that Beijing was exploiting the current pandemic to further its own interests.

However, when Liu was asked whether Sino-US ties had deteriorated beyond repair, he said he did not think that the two sides had “passed the point of no return.”

China warns US against stoking troubles in South China Sea

Also on Thursday, Ren Guoqiang, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, said at a press conference in Beijing that the United States must stop stirring up troubles in the South China Sea.

According to Reuters, the Chinese defense ministry official said the country will resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and security and maintain stability in the South China Sea.

Ren slammed a statement issued by the U.S. Department of State earlier in July, which accused China of seeking “maritime empire” in the South China Sea and “destabilizing the region” with its drills on the Xisha Islands.

“We firmly oppose this statement of the United States. The US side disregards the historical context and objective facts of the South China Sea issue, flagrantly violating its commitment of not taking a position on the sovereignty issue of the South China Sea, making groundless accusations against China, sowing discord among countries in the region and dispatching two aircraft carriers for military exercise in the South China Sea.”

Ren added that the US behavior has fully exposed the hegemonic mindset and double standards of Washington, adding, “The U.S. regards itself as the so-called ‘arbiter’ of the South China Sea issue, but actually it is a trouble-maker to disturb peace in the South China Sea, a saboteur of regional cooperation and a provocateur of country-to-country relations.”

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands and reefs in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters, which is based on sufficient historical and jurisprudential evidence… We urge the United States to stop making erroneous remarks, taking provocative military actions in the South China Sea and sowing discord among countries in the region.”

Ren further noted, “The US move to stir up troubles in the South China Sea will only make China be all the more determined to ride the waves, safeguard its sovereignty and security more resolutely, and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea more firmly.”

London has poisoned China-UK relations: Beijing

Elsewhere in his comments on Thursday, the Chinese ambassador to Britain blamed London for worsening bilateral relations after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a 5G ban on the Chinese tech giant Huawei.

Washington accuses Huawei of helping Beijing spy on communications from the countries that use its products and services – a charge both the company and the Chinese government reject.

Earlier this month, however, the British premier announced the UK government’s decision to ban Huawei’s 5G network in Britain. Shortly afterwards, Trump claimed he was responsible for the decision.

The Chinese envoy also said the provocative actions of the British government, including questions over alleged rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region and interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, had “poisoned” Beijing-London ties.

Lieu also warned the UK of “decoupling from the future” if it tried to distance itself from China.

Without mentioning by name, the Chinese envoy denounced some British politicians for “clinging” to the idea of a Cold War with China.

Lieu also blamed those politicians for characterizing Beijing as a hostile threat, suggesting that London was being coerced by Washington.

Earlier, the Chinese government warned the UK of “consequences” after it suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in protest at the new security legislation in the city.

China has repeatedly told Western powers to stop meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.

Last month, Hong Kong’s legislature debated and passed a Beijing-proposed bill, criminalizing sedition, secession and subversion against the mainland.

Critics from some Western governments, particularly the US and the UK, claim that the law threatens the semi-autonomous region’s autonomy and civil liberties.

Beijing, however, insists that the new law does not pose a threat to Hong Kong’s autonomy and the interests of foreign investors, noting that it is merely meant to prevent terrorism and foreign interference following violent riots last year.

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