Chinese envoy cautions US
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.