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US urged to drop ‘Cold War mentality’
February 02, 2018
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BEIJING: Beijing criticised the “outdated Cold War mentality” of the United States after President Donald Trump named China among threats to American values in his State of the Union address.

In recent weeks, US officials have laid the groundwork for a strategic pivot that envisions a world of renewed great power competition with the likes of Russia and China.

In his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation on Tuesday, Trump described Moscow and Beijing as challenging “our interests, our economy, and our values.”

In Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the common interests of the US and China “far outweigh our differences and disagreements.”

A steady relationship with the United States is “also in the interest of the whole world,” Li said after meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“China hopes that the United States will work with us and continue to view this relationship in a positive overall perspective,” he said.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying had more critical words.

“We hope the US side can abandon the outdated Cold War mentality to work for the shared goal with China of properly managing our differences and upholding the steady development of China-US relations,” she told a regular press briefing.

In his first State of the Union address, Trump warned that North Korea would “very soon” threaten the United States with nuclear-tipped missiles.

He also warned of the dangers from other “rogue regimes,” like Iran, terrorist groups, like the Daesh, and “rivals” like China and Russia “that challenge our interests, our economy and our values.”

Calling on Congress to lift budgetary caps and boost spending on the military, Trump said that “unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.”

Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said that for North Korea, it has to hurt that Trump declared the country as a regime that cannot co-exist with the founding values of the United States.

“He made it clear that his ‘maximum pressure and engagement’ policy will continue to be the only way going forward,” he said.

“It was probably the worst message he could deliver to the North without issuing a direct military threat.”

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University and a security adviser to South Korea’s presidential office, says Trump likely saw North Korea’s outreach over the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as a clear sign that pressure and sanctions are working.

News of the speech was not immediately broadcast in North Korea on Wednesday, which is not unusual. It often takes a day or more before the North responds officially and few North Koreans were likely even aware that Trump was to make a major address before the nation and the world.

The North’s state-run media has, however, amped up its anti-US rhetoric lately, accusing Washington of trying to create tensions ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Pyongyang has also stepped up its warnings that the US is preparing for a possible war by sending aircraft carrier battle groups and advanced stealth bombers and fighters to the region.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuying said that common interests outweigh differences between the sides and the US should view the relationship “correctly.” China’s $275 billion trade surplus with the US has been a constant source of tension, alongside their growing rivalry for military supremacy in Asia and accusations of intellectual property theft.

Agencies

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