China says it was smeared in US President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, which repeatedly mentioned competition between the two countries.
China does not fear competing with the US but is “opposed to defining the entire China-US relationship in terms of competition”, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a daily briefing on Wednesday.
“It is not the practice of a responsible country to smear a country or restrict the country’s legitimate development rights under the excuse of competition, even at the expense of disrupting the global industrial and supply chain,” Ms Mao said.
China will defend its interests and the US should work with it to “promote the return of bilateral relations to a track of sound and stable development”, she said.
Ms Mao’s comments came against a background of raging disputes over trade, Taiwan, human rights and access to advanced technologies.
Mr Biden mentioned China and its leader, Xi Jinping, at least seven times in his address on Tuesday night, focusing mainly on how the US is increasingly prepared to compete with Beijing while also seeking to avoid conflict.
“I’ve made clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict,” Mr Biden said.
“I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America strong. Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future and that China’s government is intent on dominating,” he said.
Mr Biden said his administration is “committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world”.
However, he also said “if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country”, a pointed reference to the shooting down on Saturday of a suspected Chinese spy balloon which had traversed the continental United States.
China says the balloon was an unmanned civilian airship used for meteorological research and has condemned the US action while threatening unspecified countermeasures.
The incident prompted US secretary of state Antony Blinken to cancel a trip to China this week which had stirred hopes of reversing the continued deterioration of relations between Beijing and Washington.