Chi­nese en­voy cau­tions US

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the United States Cui Tiankai cau­tioned US govern­ment of­fi­cials against mak­ing co­er­cive and un­con­struc­tive com­ments re­gard­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, es­pe­cially on some highly sen­si­tive is­sues.

Cui made the com­ment dur­ing a sem­i­nar on build­ing a new model of a ma­jor power re­la­tion­ship, held on Thurs­day at the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress (CAP) in Wash­ing­ton.

Cui pointed out that it’s not con­struc­tive for people work­ing in the govern­ment to first de­clare not tak­ing a po­si­tion on a cer­tain is­sue and then con­tinue with lengthy ac­cu­sa­tions that are clearly bi­ased and ground­less.

He did not name the US of­fi­cial, but it was clear he was re­fer­ring to a speech made at CAP a week ago by White House Se­nior Di­rec­tor for Asian Af­fairs Evan Medeiros, who blamed China for the ten­sions in the South and East China Seas.

While say­ing that he fully shared many of the views ex­pressed — such as those on the im­por­tance of more reg­u­lar high-level con­tacts be­tween the two coun­tries and the need for clar­ity, con­sis­tency and pre­dictabil­ity — Cui said he may not see eye to eye with the speaker on cer­tain other is­sues.

Medeiros said at the meet­ing that he has three mes­sages for Chi­nese lead­ers. The first was that the US is strong and gain­ing strength at home.

Cui de­scribed it as a sim­ple fact. “The United States is the most pow­er­ful and strong­est coun­try in the world and will re­main so for many, many years to come,” he said.

“Ac­tu­ally, I think our ef­forts in build­ing up this new model of a re­la­tion­ship are very much based on full recog­ni­tion of this sim­ple fact. Other­wise why bother?”

The Chi­nese am­bas­sador, who was China’s vice-for­eign min­is­ter be­fore com­ing to the US last April, said he was not quite sure whether there was a real need to keep re­mind­ing people of this sim­ple fact. “I don’t know if this is sim­ply in­tended to im­press oth­ers or re­as­sure one­self,” he said.

Medeiros said the sec­ond part of his mes­sage was that the US is an in­cum­bent power in East Asia. “In other words, we’ve been in Asia for over 60 years and we’re go­ing to be there for an­other 60 years and even longer,” he said.

Cui said the US pres­ence, in­ter­est and in­flu­ence in the Asia Pa­cific is fully and widely rec­og­nized. “We cer­tainly wel­come a con­struc­tive role by the US in the re­gion,” he said.

“At the same time we have to keep in mind an­other sim­ple and im­por­tant fact, which is: China is also a Pa­cific coun­try, and China is also an Asian coun­try,” he said.

“So in this con­text, any at­tempt to man­age or ma­nip­u­late the re­gional af­fairs at the ex­pense of China’s le­git­i­mate in­ter­est in the re­gion can­not be jus­ti­fied, and in­deed will be detri­men­tal to the pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion and even­tu­ally will serve no­body’s in­ter­est,” he said.

Cui said he fully en­dorsed the third part of the mes­sage, which

We should aim at win-win co­op­er­a­tion, whether in the Asi­aPa­cific or else­where, and on the ba­sis of mu­tual re­spect.” CUI TIANKAI CHI­NESE AM­BAS­SADOR TO THE UNITED STATES

was for China and the US to aim for more co­op­er­a­tion. “We should aim at win-win co­op­er­a­tion, whether in the Asia-Pa­cific or else­where, and on the ba­sis of mu­tual re­spect,” Cui said, adding that it is key to a suc­cess­ful new model of a re­la­tion­ship.

“For­tu­nately our two pres­i­dents have al­ready made that very im­por­tant de­ci­sion that we should work to­gether for this,” Cui said.

Tung Chee-hwa, the for­mer Hong Kong chief ex­ec­u­tive, stressed the im­por­tance of max­i­miz­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two na­tions.

“Af­ter all, the Asia-Pa­cific is where fric­tions are most likely to oc­cur be­tween the two coun­tries, and also where mu­tual ben­e­fits can mul­ti­ply many, many times for many, many people,” said Tung, now chair­man of the China-US Ex­change Foun­da­tion, which to­gether with the CAP, re­leased a re­port on Thurs­day en­ti­tled US-China Re­la­tions: To­wards a New Model of Ma­jor Power Re­la­tion­ship.

The re­port, a joint ef­fort by ex­pert teams from China and the US, pro­vides de­tailed guide­lines for the two na­tions to max­i­mize co­op­er­a­tion and nar­row and man­age their dif­fer­ences in a bid to de­fine the new type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship called for by pres­i­dents Xi Jin­ping and Barack Obama dur­ing their in­for­mal sum­mit in Sun­ny­lands last June.

Sandy Berger, for­mer US na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor, quot­ing a US of­fi­cial, said the best de­scrip­tion for the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship is that it is “big, com­plex, in­creas­ingly ma­ture, and no one is­sue can set back other is­sues from go­ing for­ward”.

Berger told China Daily that both na­tions have to look at their strate­gic doc­trine to make sure that they are not cre­at­ing a so-called se­cu­rity dilemma in which “what we do to pro­tect our­selves ac­tu­ally makes China more threat­ened and what China does to pro­tect it­self makes us feel more threat­ened”.

Yang Jiemian of the Shang­hai In­sti­tute for In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies said that some of the prob­lems be­tween the two na­tions won’t be solved eas­ily or soon.

“I like to use the tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine the­ory, if you build up the pos­i­tive thing, then in pro­por­tion the neg­a­tive things are al­ready on the de­cline,” Yang said.


Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the US Cui Tiankai speaks at the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day.

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