According to the official website of the Chinese Embassy in the United States on October 4, Ambassador Cui Tiankai answered questions about Sino-US relations, the Sino-US trade war, the DPRK nuclear weapons, the South China Sea and China's influence in an interview with the morning news anchor of the National Public Radio (NPR) on October 3. The main contents are as follows:
When talking about the Sino-US trade war, Ambassador Cui said, first of all, we do not want to have a trade war with the United States or any other country. Secondly, we hope that the two sides will solve the problem through negotiation and consultation. But the success of negotiation requires the goodwill and integrity of both sides. Frankly speaking, the credibility of the US side is not enough. The US side's position has been changing, causing China to not know exactly what the US wants. At the same time, it is unfair and impossible for some people in the United States to attempt to promote the outcome of an American victory and a Chinese defeat. China is willing to reach an agreement with the United States and is willing to make some concessions, but this requires goodwill from both sides.
Ambassador Cui said the two governments have been in touch in the past few months. The US Treasury Secretary, business secretary and trade representative went to China. China also has high-level officials to come to the United States. The two sides have discussed extensively in many fields. For example, China has proposed to take measures to reduce the US trade deficit with China, to further deepen reform and open wider to the outside world, and to be ready to solve the so-called structural problems. On more than one occasion, the working class of both sides reached a preliminary agreement, but the US side often overnight changed its demands and rejected the agreement, which is very confusing and makes the settlement of the matter more difficult. We hope that we can understand the truth of the matter and need more credibility from the US side.
Asked how to evaluate the U.S. White House Senior Director of the National Security Council for Asia Pottinger said recently that the key word between the United States and China is not cooperation but competition, Ambassador Cui said that any two countries, especially between the United States and China, there is a certain degree of competition, which is natural. However, there is still greater demand for cooperation between China and the United States. This is the reality of the world today. Like other countries, China and the United States are facing common challenges of globalization or global issues. No country can solve these problems on its own. Whether we like it or not, we must cooperate, based on our growing mutual needs and common interests. China is willing to cooperate with the US side, even if there are differences between China and the United States. Perhaps it is precisely because of our differences that we need more cooperation.
Inskip asked how the U.S. government considered banning Chinese students from studying at U.S. universities. Ambassador Cui said the situation would be dangerous if it was true. Now a large number of Chinese students are studying in the United States, and more and more American students are studying in China. Such personnel exchanges have built the foundation of friendship and cooperation between China and the United States. For example, a few years ago, the Indianapolis Children's Museum in Indiana, the capital of Indiana, held a large-scale event on Chinese culture, which was very successful. I was invited to attend the opening ceremony of the event and delivered a speech. I also met Burns, the then governor. Governor Burns is very supportive of this kind of cultural exchange activities, because the people of both countries can benefit from it. The local people also highly enthusiastic about such cultural activities. In that case, why should we interrupt these cooperation and disrupt the natural links between the two peoples? Ambassador Cui also said that China's door to American students, professors, journalists and scholars has always been open.
When asked what role the United States should play in East Asia and the relevant maritime areas in the region and what position it should take, Ambassador Cui said that China and the United States are both Pacific countries, facing each other across the ocean. We believe that the Pacific does not divide us, but ties us together. We recognize the interests of the United States in the region and the role it has played in history. We welcome this and regard the United States as our main partner in the region. But at the same time, we also want the United States to recognize that countries in the region, including China, have their own legitimate interests. The United States should learn to better understand and respect our history, culture and needs.
Speaking of the South China Sea issue, Ambassador Cui said that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and their adjacent waters, which is the long-term position of the Chinese government. In fact, at the end of World War II, it was with the help of US naval vessels that the Chinese army recovered the Japanese-occupied South China Sea islands on US naval vessels. China's sovereignty over these islands has existed for a long time. We also note the existence of some sovereignty disputes, which may take a long time to resolve through negotiations with the countries concerned. At the same time, our goal is to maintain the stability of the South China Sea, so we are working with ASEAN countries to formulate the "Code of Conduct in the South China Sea" (COC) to ensure that the stability and order of the South China Sea will be maintained and resources will be developed jointly before the disputes over territorial sovereignty can be resolved. COC negotiations have made good progress. We hope that the US side will work with us to help, rather than try to disrupt the relevant process.
On the Korean nuclear issue, Ambassador Cui said that China's position is consistent. We advocate the denuclearization of the entire Korean Peninsula and uphold the maintenance of peace and stability on the peninsula. Denuclearization of the peninsula means that neither the US nor the US can deploy nuclear weapons on the peninsula. Fortunately, in the past few months, the United States and the DPRK have made some progress in this regard. It is suggested that the US side continue to maintain dialogue with the DPRK and encourage the DPRK to further adopt denuclearization measures. Secretary of state Peng Peng is expected to visit the DPRK again, hoping that he will make a clear statement to the DPRK. China will continue to support and encourage this process.
Ambassador Cui said, I think the attitude of the DPRK to change its policy is very serious. The DPRK has declared to shift its strategic focus to economic development. Obviously, they have such needs. The DPRK people want a better life and the DPRK needs to develop its economy better. At the same time, achieving peace and stability on the peninsula is in the interests of all parties concerned.
When asked whether China would continue to implement sanctions against DPRK until the denuclearization of DPRK, Ambassador Cui said that China is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and has voted in favour of all UN Security Council resolutions on sanctions against DPRK. Since it voted in favour of sanctions against DPRK, it is obligated to implement the resolution as long as it is returned. Effective, we will be implemented in a comprehensive and strict manner.
Regarding the so-called "China's projection of global influence", Ambassador Cui said: For China, for a long time to come, our priority is to govern our country well, ensure that the people can continue to enjoy peace and social stability, live a better life and feel that there is a future ahead. Of course, it is impossible for China to develop and modernize in a closed environment. We must establish strong relations with other countries in the world and further integrate into economic globalization and global governance. At the same time, we are willing to shoulder more international responsibilities and make greater contributions to the world.
Ambassador Cui said that if we understand Chinese culture and history, we will know that China has never intended to occupy other countries'territory. More than 2,000 years ago, we defended ourselves by building the Great Wall, not by going out to attack cities and lands; hundreds of years ago, during the Ming Dynasty, China had the world's most powerful fleet, which went to sea many times and went to many countries for trade, not colonization.
In developing economic and trade relations and in various fields, countries will naturally influence each other. For example, the impact of the United States on China has been increasing over the past few decades, which is why many Chinese students come to the United States to study. This kind of folk communication is natural and is expected to have a positive impact on everyone involved. This is a good thing. Better mutual understanding and stronger relations among the people will become the real foundation of Sino-US friendship and world peace.
Asked whether the ups and downs of President Trump's traditional alliance with the United States have created opportunities for China to make more friends and exert influence, Ambassador Cui said that no matter what the United States does, China will continue to develop friendly relations with other countries, including Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. But I also hope that China and the US can have a common friend. This is not a zero sum game. Chinese friends can also become friends of the United States. We must strive for more and more common friends, rather than let countries choose to stand side by side between China and the United States. Why should they be chosen to stand in line?
Inskip also asked about the relationship between the Chinese government and the people. Ambassador Cui said that the people have given the government power and the government is responsible to the people. For the Chinese government, the first and most important thing is to be responsible to the people. We always believe that ensuring the people's better life is the core task of the government. People enjoy the right to pursue a better life, which is not granted by the government, but the responsibility of the government is to ensure that people have the ability to enjoy this right.
Regarding the opening up of Xinjiang and the so-called "re-education camp", Ambassador Cui said that China was open to the world. As a part of China, the Xinjiang autonomous region is also open. As for the "reeducation camp", what is widely reported is often far from the truth. Frankly speaking, Xinjiang is facing severe threats of violent terrorism and extremism. Some people attempt to replicate a similar "Islamic State" in Xinjiang, which poses a great challenge and threat to Xinjiang's stability and people's well-being. It is very dangerous and the government must strengthen its response. First of all, we must take action to ensure that terrorist organizations such as the "Islamic State" cannot spread rampantly in Xinjiang and eradicate all terrorist threats. At the same time, we must maintain local social stability and enhance people's sense of security. In addition, we must ensure that people have the ability to pursue a better life. For example, they need to learn more technology to improve their ability to work in order to better adapt to the rapid development of science and technology. Whatever we do in Xinjiang is for the well-being and security of the local people and for the maximum protection of the interests of the people.
When asked about the opening up of Tibet, Ambassador Cui said that Tibet has a high altitude and harsh climate. Not everyone can quickly adapt to such a natural environment. Even for many Chinese, they will feel uncomfortable when they first arrive in Tibet. At the same time, in order to protect Tibet's ecological environment, China controls the number of tourists entering Tibet every year so as not to overwhelm the ecological environment. If we can deal with these problems, we certainly welcome more American tourists to visit Tibet. It is understood that recent U.S. ambassadors to China have visited Tibet, and the current Ambassador Blanstad is preparing to visit Tibet.
Speaking about China's social credit system and its control of freedom of speech, Ambassador Cui said that in the United States, if you don't pay your bank debts and credit card bills, banks will have records. For anyone who has such a bad record, getting loans from a bank will be very difficult. And China is learning from the United States to do similar things. If someone has a bad record, whether financial or threatening others, they must be punished. Of course, this is a time limit rather than a lifetime.
As for freedom of speech, if you browse China's social media, you'll see a variety of discussions on it, showing the degree of freedom of speech in China. Of course, China and the United States and other countries all face.
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