The flags of China, the United States, and the Chinese Communist Party are displayed in a flag booth in the Yiwu Wholesale Market in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China on May 10, 2019.

Aly Song | Reuters

BEIJING – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday the US must lift “unreasonable restrictions” in order for the two countries’ relations to move forward under President Joe Biden’s administration.

Wang’s remarks come from the fact that tensions between the US and China have escalated in recent years under former President Donald Trump, whose term of office ended in January. So far, the Biden government has maintained a tough stance on China – calling the country a more assertive “competitor” – and has raised concerns about Beijing’s stance on Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

China’s central government regards these issues as part of its internal affairs.

“With regard to China-US relations, I believe that both sides must first uphold the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,” said Wang. This emerges from an official English translation of his Mandarin-language statements at a press conference that took place alongside the annual “Two Sessions” parliamentary session in Beijing, the country’s largest political event of the year.

Biden-Xi call

In a two-hour phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping in February before the New Year holidays, Biden had expressed “fundamental concerns” about Beijing’s actions on issues such as Hong Kong, according to the White House. At the same time, the two heads of state and government also discussed how to fight the coronavirus pandemic by working together on climate change and preventing the spread of weapons.

Wang said Sunday the two countries could also work together on the economic recovery from the pandemic, citing the call as a positive foundation for rebuilding bilateral ties.

“We stand ready to work with the United States to pursue the outcome of this important phone call and to put China-US relations on a new path of healthy and steady growth,” he said.