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President Xi calls out US-led 'containment, encirclement and suppression’ of China

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the first session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), in Beijing, on March 6, 2023. (Photo by Xinhua)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has strongly rebuked the US in a speech at an annual summit of the ruling Communist Party, saying Washington is leading a “containment, encirclement and suppression of China.”

Xi, who will set to begin his third consecutive term as the country's president, said Beijing faces "unprecedented severe challenges" from the West. 

"Western countries led by the United States have implemented all-round containment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to our country's development," he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

Xi said the past five years have seen a new set of hurdles imposed by the West that threaten to weigh down China's economic growth.

The US and its Western allies have imposed curbs on tech exports to China, prompting Beijing to double down on the need to shift away from imports for sectors perceived as vital to national security, including semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

The US is also working to expand its restrictions on the export of chipmaking equipment to China.

The Chinese president said the country must "have the courage to fight" as it faces "profound and complex changes in both the domestic and international landscape" while urging private firms to "take the initiative to pursue high-quality development."

Earlier this week, Xi pledged to enhance China's manufacturing capacity, stressing that the country should be able to fend for itself.

"I've always said there are two critical areas for China: one is to safeguard our rice bowl, and the other is to build up a strong manufacturing sector," he said.

"As a great nation of 1.4 billion people, we must rely on ourselves... We can't depend on international markets to save us."

China's foreign minister Qin Gang on Tuesday said Washington's policy towards China would not hinder the country's "rejuvenation".

"If the United States has the ambition to make itself great again, it should also have a broad mind for the development of other countries," Qin said. "Containment and suppression will not make America great. It will not stop the rejuvenation of China."

Qin also warned that “conflict and confrontation” with the US is inevitable if Washington continues its "reckless" approach to relations with Beijing.

Relations between Washington and Beijing deteriorated sharply after former president Donald Trump launched a trade war against China in 2018.

China hoped for an improvement in relations under the administration of Joe Biden, but the new US government has shown no sign of backing down on its hardline policies toward China.

Tensions between the two arch-foes soared further last month after a suspected Chinese spy balloon floated in American skies and was shot down by US fighter jets.

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