China's fiery FM adds to 'acrimony' says analyst

STORY: "Qin Gang's statements seemed sort of abrasive and combative. But, you could look back to the recent hearing that was held by the new House Committee on China, and that rhetoric was very similar, if not even more abrasive in terms of the accusations which were being made," Carlson, the Director of the China and Asia-Pacific program at Cornell University.

Relations between the two superpowers have been tense for years over a number of issues including Taiwan, trade and more recently the war in Ukraine, but they worsened last month after the United States shot down a balloon off the U.S. East Coast that it says was a Chinese spying craft.

Underscoring the tension between the two countries is the pressure Chinese President Xi Jinping is under to cement his legacy, Carlson said.

Achieving unification with Taiwan is critical, said Carlson.

"Xi Jinping likes to think of himself in the league of... Mao and... Deng Xiaoping. And I think he sees himself as somehow different than his predecessors, Hu Jintao or Jiang Zemin who didn't oversee or weren't in charge of real steps forward in terms of the project of national unification, said Carlson.

The White House on Tuesday brushed off bellicose rhetoric from China that the United States risked a confrontation with Beijing, saying Washington was not seeking a conflict and saw no change in U.S.-Chinese relations.