China says not seeking to dethrone US as top power

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi flatly denied American claims that China is stealing technology from US and other foreign businesses (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed fears Friday that his country was seeking to overtake the United States as the pre-eminent world power amid fast-deteriorating relations with President Donald Trump.

Speaking to an influential US think tank, Wang took a steadfastly conciliatory tone, pledging to work with the United States to resolve disputes and denying that China was stealing technology.

“Some American friends have proceeded from the Western theory of realism,” he said, believing that “in the past several hundred years, strong countries are bound to seek hegemony, and their conclusion is that China is about to seek hegemony and even challenge or displace US leadership.”

“I want to tell you very clearly that this is a serious strategic misjudgment,” Wang told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where he was attending the UN General Assembly.

“It is a misguided anticipation that will be extremely detrimental to US interests and the future of the United States,” he said.

“Regrettably, this self-imagined suspicion is spreading and it has also been amplified,” he said, warning that it could “even lead to new suspicions and make it even more difficult to address specific issues.”

After Trump forged an initial bonhomie with Chinese President Xi Jinping, relations have rapidly plummeted.

Trump with characteristic bluntness this week said that he may no longer consider Xi a friend.

The United States has imposed US$200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods and Trump has gone so far as alleging that China is interfering in midterm US elections in hopes of defeating his Republican Party due to his tough trade stance.

Wang flatly denied a key American charge — that China is stealing technology from US and other foreign businesses.

“This is simply not true. We hope that such untrue allegations will stop,” he said.

US officials say China seizes the technology more indirectly by requiring foreign companies to ally with local firms to enter the world’s most populous market, with the partners then seizing the know-how for themselves.

Wang insisted that the process of business partnerships was “open and transparent.”