New US ambassador to China met with criticism from Beijing
Beijing tells incoming US envoy Burns to ‘never underestimate determination of Chinese people to defend their rights’
Ahead of his trip to Beijing to take charge as the top US diplomat in China, Nicholas Burns on Thursday got an early warning on China’s “core concerns.”
“China opposes Nicholas Burns’ remarks, which are full of Cold War and zero-sum mentality,” Wang Wenbin, Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a news conference in Beijing.
The response came to Burns’ statement at his US Senate confirmation hearing a day earlier, saying that alleged “genocide in Xinjiang, abuses in Tibet, and bullying of Taiwan must stop.”
“We urge Burns to have an objective understanding of China's actual situation, view China’s development and China-US relations in a rational way and never underestimate the strong determination of the Chinese people to defend their rights,” the ministry said, according to Chinese daily Global Times.
Burns also called “objectionable” the recent escalation in the Taiwan Strait, where China sent more than 150 sorties across what Taiwan calls its air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
Beijing claims Taiwan, an island nation of 24 million people, as its “breakaway province,” while Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949 and has diplomatic relations with at least 15 countries.
The increased Chinese air activity over the region was criticized by the US, while Beijing insisted against interference in “China’s internal issues.”
It is now almost every day that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force sends its warplanes across the ADIZ, which is seen as a response to increased communications between Washington, its allies, and Taipei.
The ADIZ is a buffer zone outside a country's airspace where it has the right to ask incoming aircraft to identify themselves.
China has also drawn criticism for the alleged ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs, mostly Muslims, in its far-western Xinjiang province. Beijing has denied any wrongdoing.
Burns said the US administration and Congress, together, “on a bipartisan basis, should help Taiwan to maintain a self-defense capability and that's the language of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.”
The US formally recognized the People's Republic of China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, including Taiwan as part of mainland China.