China had no interest in influencing the upcoming US presidential election and did not want to waste its time waiting until after the election before managing ties with the United States, Beijing’s envoy said in the latest appeal to push bilateral relations back on track.
Cui Tiankai, who has been China’s ambassador to the US since 2013, said Beijing was ready to work with the current US administration “any time anywhere” to reset the relationship and discuss cooperation in the post Covid-19 era.
“Let me make it very clear here, we are not waiting for anything and we are never willing to waste time in waiting. Besides, American domestic dynamics is well beyond what we can predict or influence. We have no intention or interest to get involved,” Cui said.
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The remarks were made in a webinar to the Brookings Institution last week and a transcript of Cui’s keynote speech was published by the embassy on Thursday. The comments came amid increasingly precipitous tensions between the two powers over trade, technology, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and ideology.
Blame has been cast by US officials, including FBI director Christopher Wray, that Beijing is increasing its ability to influence the election.
A group of senior Chinese diplomats has been delivering conciliatory remarks since the end of June, calling for both countries to engage at all levels in dialogue to stop the escalation and work out a road map for a future relationship. The US has not directly responded while continuing its containment policy on China over social media, security and Hong Kong.
“We look forward to positive responses from the US side,” said Cui, a veteran diplomat who, unlike some of his Wolf Warrior diplomatic colleagues, disagreed in March with a conspiracy theory about the US military and the origin of the coronavirus.
Cui also denounced a Cold War mindset seen in the current US-China confrontation and sounded an alarm over the worsening bilateral relations.
“If the negative trend of China-US relations is allowed to continue, China might have to face more difficulties and challenges. But the initiators of the so-called new cold war must weigh the costs they have to pay and the consequences for the world. For whom the bell tolls, there will be a day of reckoning,” he said.
He said competition did not justify confrontation, “ideological crusades” would not solve problems and were doomed to fail, and the US should learn to live with a rising China.
“China’s integration would inevitably bring changes to the international system, which needs to make adjustments accordingly. This is only logical and natural, like a kind of chemical reaction.
“Yet our intention is not to have a revolution or start up an entirely new system.”
The Trump administration has ramped up its rhetoric against China in the lead-up to the US presidential election.
Both sides are expected to hold talks soon to review each other’s compliance with the phase one trade deal, which remains the only area in which Washington engages publicly with Beijing.
Observers in Beijing warned that the tensions may further escalate in the coming months before the start of the new presidential term in January.
More from South China Morning Post:
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This article China-US relations: we cannot predict or influence American domestic politics, says Chinese ambassador first appeared on South China Morning Post