By Aakansha Malia 11:26 am PST

In yet another flashpoint between China and the United States, China’s new Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, reprimanded the superpower on March 7 for stoking tensions between the two nations and warned of conflict and confrontation. Speaking during the sidelines of an ongoing National People’s Congress, he said, “If the United States does not hit the brakes but continues to speed down the wrong path, no guardrails can prevent derailing, and there will surely be conflict and confrontation.” Qin added that the U.S. would bear catastrophic consequences if it continued to follow its due course. The foreign minister called American competition with China “a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamental interests of two peoples and even the future of humanity.” He stated the conflict was “a zero-sum game of life and death.”

Meanwhile, in an interview with CNBC, the United States responded to China’s harsh comments on March 9. A U.S. State Department spokesperson hit back at China by saying, “We have made it clear we do not seek to contain China or have a new Cold War.” The United States has been pushing back on the perception that the U.S. is trying to stop China from growing and “establishing guardrails” on the relationship, as Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang mentioned. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also echoed the same remarks last year but did accuse China of engaging in asymmetrical decoupling—meaning that China is becoming less dependent on the world and the world more dependent on China.

Chinese Foreign Minister’s comments come after President Xi Jinping outrightly called out the U.S. while addressing a group of government advisers representing private businesses during an annual legislative meeting in Beijing on March 6. He said, “[In the past five years,] Western countries led by the United States have contained and suppressed us in an all-round way, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to our development.” These remarks came after Washington announced the tightening of restrictions on Chinese chipmakers, citing national security concerns and the risk of the technology being used by China’s military. Relations between both powers have deteriorated in the past years, but the Chinese President has always refrained from direct condemnation of the United States. However, this time Xi did not abstain from raising concerns about the country’s external and internal economic challenges.

Ties between the U.S. and China have been at their lowest point in decades, especially after speculations were raised last month of a Chinese balloon floating over North America and was later shot down by a U.S. fighter jet. The appearance of the “Chinese spy balloon” also led to U.S. State Secretary postponing his trip to Beijing. The Wall Street Journal reported on March 8 that the U.S. Department of Defense raised concerns about Chinese-made cranes in U.S. ports to gather intelligence on goods being shipped in and out of the country.

Taiwan has also been a longstanding topic of concern between both nations. Concerns over an escalation of the issue were raised after China announced its budget on March 5, stating an increase in its defense budget by 7.2% for the upcoming year. To this, House China Select Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher told Fox News Digital on March 7 that Chinese President Xi Jinping is “deadly serious” about invading Taiwan and that ”Xi Jinping has made it clear that he has aggressive designs on Taiwan, by force if necessary.” On the same day, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin in Beijing also reiterated that China would “maintain the option of taking all necessary actions” to take Taiwan.

According to a bombshell report released on March 7, one of the nation’s most prestigious STEM schools has taken over $1 million in funding from communist Chinese affiliated organizations which the experts have said that they allegedly run propaganda programs. President and founder of Parents Defending Education President, Nicole Neily, said, “these educational partnership programs for students outside of China, including in the United States, is to learn Chinese languages and culture.” She highlighted the urgency of putting controls in place at all levels of the American education system, as this poses an acute threat to America’s national security.