China has ridiculed America's plan to build a "clean network" free from Chinese tech and businesses, particularly in its telecoms infrastructure.
The criticism came via an interview with China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, and state-run media outlet Xinhua.
The interview appears to have been designed to let Yi speak his mind, rather than a probing of his positions. So one of the questions was: "The US is going after Huawei in every possible way, and has declared to build a coalition of 'clean countries' to counter China. Many see this as a reflection of US anxiety and fear. What is your take on this?"
Yi answered by saying: "Without any solid evidence, the US has launched a global campaign against a private Chinese company. This is a textbook example of bullying. Everyone can see easily and clearly that the US goal is to keep its monopoly in science and technology but deny other countries the legitimate right to development. It doesn't even bother to disguise its bullying."
The minister next pointed out that the USA is more than happy to conduct its own electronic surveillance.
"I'd like to stress again that Huawei and many other Chinese companies, unilaterally sanctioned by the US, are innocent. Their technologies and products are safe to use, and they have never done any harm to any country," he said. "In stark contrast, the US is behind such scandals as PRISM and ECHELON. It conducts wire-tapping and mass surveillance around the globe, and these wrongful acts are already an open secret. The US is not qualified to build a coalition of 'clean countries' because itself is dirty allover."
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The foreign minister then defended China's efforts "to work with all countries to maintain a fair, just, open and non-discriminatory business environment, promote international exchanges and cooperation in science and technology, and ensure that safe, reliable and quality information technology will boost global economic recovery and help improve people's lives around the world."
And he expressed his hope "that the US will give up its obsession with its narrow self-interest, and return to the right track of openness and cooperation."
The Trump administration's announcement of its "clean network" plan singled out the Chinese Communist Party as the reason for its objections to China, labelling it a "malign actor". In his riposte, Yi insisted the party has the support of the people, then criticised the United States for disengaging with international bodies in which the two nations could thrash out their differences.
He therefore called for the USA to "abandon the zero-sum mentality and stand up to shared responsibilities".
"COVID-19 again makes it clear that humanity is a community with a shared future. Our world still faces many global challenges. Traditional and non-traditional security challenges are intertwined. Almost all regional and international hotspot issues require a coordinated response from China, the US and other countries," he added. "China and the US must always bear in mind the well-being of mankind, live up to their responsibilities as two major countries, coordinate and cooperate as needed in the UN and other multilateral institutions, and work together for world peace and stability." ®