Wang Yi accuses the US of ‘salami slicing’ tactics and ‘bullying’ in a call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The United States must stop its “old routine of unilateral bullying”, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a telephone call.

Wang on Friday accused the US of trying to suppress China’s development. Washington must pay attention to Beijing’s legitimate concerns, he said, warning the US against trying to challenge China’s red lines using “salami slicing” tactics.

He was referring to the practice of using a series of small actions to achieve a much larger result that would be difficult to accomplish with a single large action.

The remarks by Wang underscored the deep tensions that mark relations between the world’s two largest economies, even as their leaders have tried to re-engage in diplomacy in recent weeks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met US President Joe Biden at the G20 summit in Bali last month, where they discussed a number of hot-button issues, including Taiwan. It was their first in-person talk since 2017.

China considers Taiwan its own territory and believes the US is slowly chipping away at its core interests and challenging its bottom line while being careful to avoid a single drastic action that could give China a clear reason to react with full force.

Biden had raised objections to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions towards Taiwan”, which he said undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region, and jeopardised global prosperity.

Xi called it the “first red line” that must not be crossed in China-US relations.

Wang stressed that the two sides should focus on translating the Bali consensus of the two heads of state into practical policies and concrete actions, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday.

“It is necessary to step up consultations on the guiding principles of China-U.S. relations, promote dialogue at all levels, and resolve specific issues between the two countries through joint working groups,” Wang said.

A brief readout from the US State Department said Blinken discussed the “need to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the US-PRC [People’s Republic of China] relationship,” in his call with Wang.

The US side raised “concerns about Russia’s war against Ukraine and the threats it poses to global security and economic stability”.

Wang stressed that China has “always stood by the side of peace and the purposes of the UN Charter”.

“Standing on the side of the international community to promote peace and talks, we will continue to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis in our own way,” the Chinese foreign ministry quoted Wang as telling Blinken.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA