BEIJING (AFP) – China and Russia yesterday decried US President Donald Trump’s first National Security Strategy – which pilloried both nations as challengers to US power – as a “Cold War mentality” with an “imperialist character”.
The two global powerhouses hit back hours after the Trump administration unveiled its approach to the world with biting language framing Beijing and Moscow as global competitors.
“We urge the United States to stop intentionally distorting China’s strategic intentions and to abandon outdated notions such as the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, otherwise it will only harm itself or others,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
Moscow issued its own denunciation moments later.
“The imperialist character of this document is obvious, as is the refusal to renounce a unipolar world, an insistent refusal,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The report’s tough tone contrasts sharply with Mr Trump’s friendlier face-to-face encounters with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” the document says.
Accusing China of seeking “to displace the United States” in Asia, the 68-page strategy is a litany of US grievances, from the Chinese stealing data to spreading “features of its authoritarian system”.
“Contrary to our hopes, China expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others,” it says.
Beijing launched a vigorous defence of its “peaceful development”, saying any report “which distorts the facts, or maliciously slanders will only do so in vain”.
“China will never pursue its own development at the expense of other countries’ interests,” Ms Hua told a regular news briefing. “At the same time we will never give up our legitimate rights and interests.”
Mr Trump’s security strategy warns that Russian nuclear weapons are “the most significant existential threat to the United States”.
It also describes the Kremlin as a power that “seeks to restore its great power status and establish spheres of influence near its borders”. “Russia aims to weaken US influence in the world and divide us from our allies and partners,” it warns.
The Kremlin’s Mr Peskov responded that Russia “cannot accept” being described as a threat to US security. But he praised “modest” positive features in the report, pointing to what he said was Washington’s readiness to cooperate with Russia in areas such as a security information exchange.