China seeks course correction in US ties, rejects hegemony: top diplomat Wang Yi

Article in party flagship cites Wang as director of Central Foreign Affairs Commission general office, the first confirmation of his new role as China’s top diplomat.

China’s new top diplomat Wang Yi pledged in a New Year’s Day message to work on course correction in US-China relations, but also vowed to fight against “all forms of hegemony”.

“[We will] implement agreements reached by the top leaders of the US and China, seek to establish guiding principles of Sino-US relations and correct course [in bilateral ties],” Wang wrote in an article published on Sunday in Qiushi, the flagship magazine of China’s ruling Communist Party.

The byline cited Wang as director of the general office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, the first public confirmation that he had taken over as China’s new foreign policy supremo, replacing Yang Jiechi who stepped down at age 72.

In his article, which aimed to review Beijing’s foreign policy over the past year and lay down key goals for the new one, Wang also pledged to deepen ties with Russia and achieve closer high-level communication with Europe.

China would also seek to deepen convergence on common interests with neighbours, he wrote.

Wang was promoted as a new member of the 24-strong Politburo, the party’s top decision-making body led by President Xi Jinping, during the 20th national congress in October.

The former foreign minister had been projected to take over Yang’s role since then.

On Friday, Beijing named Qin Gang, its ambassador to Washington, as the new minister of foreign affairs, Wang’s former title. A new top envoy to the US has yet to be announced.

In his article, Wang also pledged to fight back in the new year against “all forms of hegemony”, rebuff any attempts by “external forces” to interfere with China’s domestic affairs as well as defend China’s sovereignty and security.

In reviewing China’s foreign policy in 2022, Wang hailed Beijing’s reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as “displaying the firm willingness” to defend national security and sovereignty.

Pelosi visited Taiwan in early August in defiance of repeated warnings from Beijing, which responded with live-fire military drills around the island on an unprecedented scale. Several fly-bys and smaller drills have followed in the months since.

Wang also praised Beijing’s efforts to reject Washington’s accusations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, as well as the American framing of China ties as a rivalry between a democracy and an authoritarian government.

In this context, he hailed the “candid” and “constructive” communication between Xi and US President Joe Biden, especially during their summit in Bali in November.

Those talks set the stage for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to China early this year – in what will be his first trip to the country as Biden’s top diplomat.

As part of preparations for that trip, China last month hosted a senior US delegation led by Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, and Laura Rosenberger, senior director for China and Taiwan at the National Security Council. Both had been present at the Bali talks.

The Chinese side, led by vice foreign minister Xie Feng, agreed to “properly handle” differences with Washington over Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be breakaway territory awaiting reunification.

The US, like most countries, does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state, but is opposed to any attempts to take the island by force, something Beijing has not ruled out.