China yesterday expressed hope the Biden administration will improve prospects for people of both countries and give a boost to relations after an especially rocky patch while getting in a few final digs at former Trump officials.
"I think after this very difficult and extraordinary time, both the Chinese and American people deserve a better future," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing.
She said China and the US need to relaunch cooperation in a number of areas. She particularly welcomed the new administration's decision to remain in the World Health Organisation and return to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
"Many people of insight in the international community are looking forward to the early return of Sino-US relations to the correct track in making due contributions to jointly address the major and urgent challenges facing the world today," Hua said.
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She also criticised ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other former officials, a day after Beijing imposed travel and business sanctions on 28 of them, including Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien and UN Ambassador Kelly Craft.
"Over the past few years, the Trump administration, especially Pompeo, has buried too many mines in Sino-US relations that need to be eliminated, burned too many bridges that need to be rebuilt, and wrecked too many roads that need to be repaired," Hua said.
Hua on Wednesday described Pompeo as a "doomsday clown" and said his designation of China as a perpetrator of genocide and crimes against humanity was merely "a piece of wastepaper."
Hua's markedly more friendly tone Thursday appeared to signal Chinese hopes to cool the rhetoric on both sides and give the relationship a chance to heal over some of the worst divisions.