China’s Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng spoke with The Associated Press on April 16, on a range of issues from U.S.-China relations to human rights. On US-China relations he criticized the U.S. emphasis on confrontation over cooperation: “We feel that this is too negative and lacks a forward-looking spirit.” He said it is regrettable that competing to be tougher on China seems to be the politically correct thing to do in America. “Some people in the U.S. refuse to accept that 1.4 billion Chinese people are entitled to a better life and don’t recognize China has the right to choose its own path of development.” He described calls for China to accelerate its carbon reduction targets as unrealistic. He added: “China is at a different stage than the U.S., Western nations and other developed countries. China is still a primary school student while the developed countries are middle school students. Now if you ask primary school and middle school students to graduate at the same time, it is against the natural course of growth, so it’s unrealistic.” Le Yucheng welcomed America’s return to the Paris accord under Biden and called on the U.S. “to redouble its efforts to make up for the losses caused by its withdrawal” under former President Donald Trump. On the South China Sea, he reiterated that "the United States is 7,000 miles away from the South China Sea, and the United States has travelled long distances to come with weaponry, military vessels and military aircraft,” accusing it of stirring trouble in the region. He dismissed accusations of China reneging on pledges to give HongKong a “one country, two systems” framework. He said “I don’t think there is anything strange if Hong Kong somehow becomes more like a Chinese city, because after all, Hong Kong is part of China and Hong Kong people are Chinese people.” regarding Xinjiang, he flatly denied US accusations of genocide and said it has shown no proof, and that the reports were fake and spread by "a handful of anti-China scholars" and, "disinformation from some Western media.”

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