Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai said that the U.S. has to make “a fundamental choice” as to whether it’s ready to live with China in peace and cooperate with the rising power to jointly tackle global challenges.
Speaking on CNN’s GPS program, Cui said “people have to fully recognize the realities of today’s world,” that there are continuing and ongoing efforts by the Chinese people to modernize our own country and that China certainly has the legitimate right to build itself into “a modernized, strong, prosperous country, like every other country in the world.”
“The fundamental question for the United States is very simple – is the U.S. ready or willing to live with another country with very different culture, very different political and economic systems,” said the ambassador in response to a question about whether China has become more assertive and expansionist under Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Speaking about China-U.S. relations under the Trump administration, Cui said China is ready to work with President Trump and his administration to build a “more stable and stronger relation” between the two great powers.
Cui said the key for both countries is to identify growing common interests where the two can cooperate for the benefits of the people in both countries, and the world.
China hopes the two countries can “do a good job in managing any possible differences between us in a constructive way,” he said.
Asked whether he was surprised by Trump’s sharp criticism of China, Cui said that China is always ready and open to work with the U.S. and that China has confidence in the goodwill of the American people.
As countries with great responsibilities, Cui said the two countries have to make policies on common interests and growing global challenges, and they must not “allow suspicion, fear, or even hatred to hijack our foreign policy.”
“Our policy for Hong Kong is still ‘One Country, Two Systems’,” Cui stressed in the program in response to a question on whether the newly passed national security law for Hong Kong would harm the city’s autonomy.
The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is intended to safeguard the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, stressed Cui, adding the law will make the city “more secure.”
If people try to undermine “One Country,” they are undermining “Two Systems” as well, he added.
“It very clearly defines the kinds of actions that were banned by the law. So if people have no interest in getting themselves involved in such acts, they have nothing to worry about,” Cui said.
South China Sea
A day after the fourth anniversary of an international tribunal in The Hague against China’s claim of historic rights in the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 13 that America rejects most of China’s “unlawful” claims over the South China Sea and accused China of a campaign of bullying to control the resources.
When asked if China would change course and accept the ruling, Cui said China rejected the “unilateral action” from the beginning and doesn’t participate in it.
Cui said China’s claims to the South China Sea have “very strong historical and legal foundation” but China is still willing to resolve the disputes with other related countries through negotiation.
Cui said China is making progress in negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries as both sides are working on the Code of Conduct.
He said it is “outside interference” and the U.S. that is destabilizing the region.
The U.S. is sending its warships and airplanes more frequently to the region to strengthen its military presence and ironically the U.S. is not yet a contracting party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he added.