China responded Wednesday to U.S. President Joe Biden's State of the Union address. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said a healthy and stable relationship is in the best interest of both the Chinese and American people. She said the world is big enough for both nations to develop themselves and prosper. Photo courtesy Chinese Foreign Ministry
Feb. 8 (UPI) -- China's foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning hit back at President Joe Biden Wednesday for comments during his State of The Union address that she implied sought to drive division between the two countries.
Ning said Biden's comments that the U.S. "seeks competition, not conflict" with China but would act if Beijing threatens U.S. sovereignty, "were not conducive to building trust or improving ties between our two countries, nor can it make the U.S. safer."
"We are opposed to defining the entire China-U.S. relations by competition," Ning said in response during her regular press conference. "It is beneath a responsible country to use competition as a pretext to smear other countries and restrain their legitimate right to development, even at the expense of global industrial and supply chains."
Ning said a healthy and stable China-U.S. relationship is in the fundamental interest of both nations.
She said China will handle relations with the United States in accordance with three principles -- mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and "win-win cooperation."
"China has always believed that China-U.S. relations should not be a zero-sum game where one side out-competes or thrives at the expense of the other. The successes of China and the U.S. are opportunities, not challenges, for each other," she said.
Ning also criticized the United States for "exaggerating or hyping up the 'China threat' narrative" amid increased tension between the two nations after a Chinese balloon was shot down after it was spotted flying over Montana.
China has maintained that the balloon was a civilian aircraft that was not used for any insidious purpose, while U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III has said the balloon was being used by the People's Republic of China to surveil "strategic sites" in the United States, posing an "undue risk."
On Wednesday Ning reiterated that China opposes the U.S. decision to shoot down the balloon.
"I would like to stress that the U.S.'s downing of the unmanned Chinese civilian airship by force is unacceptable and irresponsible," she said. "The Chinese side has lodged a stern protest."