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BEIJING: China’s foreign ministry on Friday accused US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of “smearing” the country after the American official delivered a speech calling for action to counterbalance Beijing’s influence.

Blinken’s speech “spreads false information, exaggerates the China threat, interferes in China’s internal affairs, and smears China’s domestic and foreign policies”, ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference.

China has faced a chorus of warnings from the United States and Western allies in recent days over its growing influence and global ambitions.

In a wide-ranging speech on Thursday, Blinken warned of China’s “intent to reshape the international order”, and called for a defence of the global order.

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He also accused Beijing of raising tensions over Taiwan and said Beijing has “cut off Taiwan’s relations with countries around the world and blocking it from participating in international organizations”.

Wang on Friday said China “firmly opposed” Blinken’s speech, saying it showed Washington sought to “contain and suppress China’s development and maintain US hegemony and power”.

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