Posted on July 6, 2023

China Dismisses Criticism of Top Diplomat’s Comments Appearing to Push for Race-Based Alliance

Associated Press, July 5, 2023

China on Wednesday dismissed criticism of racially tinged comments by its top diplomat, who said Westerners are incapable of distinguishing among Chinese, Koreans and Japanese.

“Americans take all visitors from China, South Korea and Japan as Asians. They cannot tell the differences and it’s the same in Europe,” said Wang Yi, a former foreign minister who now heads the ruling Communist Party’s foreign affairs commission. “No matter how yellow you dye your hair, or how sharp you make your nose, you’ll never turn into a European or American, you’ll never turn into a Westerner.”

“One needs to know where one’s roots are,” Wang said at a trilateral forum in the northern Chinese city of Qingdao on Monday. “China, Japan, Korea — if we can join hands and cooperate, it would not only suit the interests of our three countries, but also the wishes of our peoples and together we can prosper, revitalize East Asia and enrich the world.”

Wang’s comments drew immediate condemnation, particularly from scholars online. Asked about the critical response at a briefing Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin replied, “we cannot agree with it at all.”

In a speech to the forum, Wang Yi emphasized cooperation among the three nations, adding that “some major countries outside the region deliberately exaggerate ideological differences, weave various exclusive small circles, and try to replace cooperation with confrontation and unity with division.”

That was a clear reference to the United States, China’s chief rival, which it routinely accuses of hegemonism.

The U.S. has security alliances with both Japan and South Korea, whose open societies and multiparty democracies contrast sharply with China’s strict authoritarian one-party system. {snip}