China should make plans in case relations with the US deteriorate further, including further steps to strengthen its military capabilities, a senior Chinese government adviser has warned.
Zheng Bijian, a former vice-president of the Central Party School, did not name the US during his speech to a conference on Friday, but repeatedly referred to the “hegenomic nation” and said it was too early to tell if tensions would ease once the new administration takes office.
“I will cite an old China saying, let’s listen to their words and watch their deeds, let’s see how the hegemonic nation will act,” Zheng, a long-time adviser on foreign policy, told the event.
He added that China would make long-term preparations for both outcomes, and said “of course, that includes the building of military capacity”.
Another senior government adviser, former Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan, told the event that China should take proactive steps in case the US rejoins the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Donald Trump abandoned in 2017.
On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that Beijing was open to joining its replacement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.