BEIJING/WASHINGTON • China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday said the Chinese side is ready to enter into candid and effective consultation with the American side, as well as make cool-headed and sensible response to the impulsive moves and anxiety of the United States.
Mr Wang made the remarks in an exclusive interview on China-US ties with Xinhua News.
“The assertion that US policy of engagement with China has failed is just a rehash of the Cold War mentality,” Mr Wang said. “It turns a blind eye to all that has been achieved in China-US relations over the past decades, shows ignorance of the historical process and lack of respect for the Chinese and American people.”
Mr Wang added that over the past 40 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties, several generations of Chinese and Americans have worked together to advance China-US relations.
“As a result, bilateral ties have become one of the most deeply interwoven relationships in the world with broadest cooperation areas and most extensive common interests,” said Mr Wang.
“It is neither necessary nor possible for the two sides to change each other. Instead, we should respect the choice independently made by the people of the other side.”
He said China’s major achievements in the past decades show the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics fits the country, and has also benefited the world. “Anyone who attempts to derail this process can only end in failure,” he added.
Mr Wang’s comments came as US-China ties have quickly deteriorated this year over a range of issues, including tit-for-tat consulate closures, Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus, China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, and the clampdown on Hong Kong.
In March, the US slashed the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work at the US offices of major Chinese state-owned media from 160 to 100. China expelled US journalists from three US newspapers and has threatened to match any more US actions against Chinese journalists.
On Tuesday, the Chinese ambassador to the US said Beijing does not want tensions with Washington to escalate further. The world’s top two economies should work to cooperate instead of confronting each other, Mr Cui Tiankai said, striking a relatively conciliatory tone at the virtual Aspen Security Forum.
“I don’t think a new Cold War would serve anybody’s interest,” said Mr Cui, seen as a moderate voice among Beijing’s top diplomatic brass. “Why should we allow history to repeat (itself)… when we are faced with so many new challenges?” he said, while rejecting US allegations of Chinese spying in the Houston consulate shut down by Washington last month.
Mr Cui also pushed back on Washington’s allegations that Beijing was employing intimidation tactics across the South China Sea and said intensifying US military activities in the region were raising the risk of a potential confrontation.
Asked about TikTok, the Chinese-owned short-video app that President Donald Trump has threatened to ban from Sept 15 unless there is a sale to another firm outside of China, Mr Cui said there was no evidence that the company was sharing information with the Chinese government.
Mr Cui’s comments came after a July 23 policy speech in California by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who described getting Beijing to change its ways as “the mission of our time”.
Despite the tensions, Mr Cui said that Washington and Beijing are moving along on their phase one trade deal. “The two economic teams have been in contact with each other at various levels… and we are making progress,” he said.