During an interview this week with the Aspen Security Forum, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States avoided acknowledging any Chinese role in the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China and said the way to avoid a Cold War-style conflict between the two countries is for the U.S. to end its “narrative” of there being a conflict between democracy and authoritarianism.
Ambassador Qin Gang discussed the potential for a new Cold War between the U.S. and China during a discussion with the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday.
“Some people are mistakenly taking China as a former Soviet Union as a threat,” Qin said. “But I want to say that as a matter of fact, China is not a former Soviet Union. The Chinese Communist Party is not the former Soviet Communist Party.”
“We do hope that the U.S. side will make reassurance about this strategic intention on China,” Qin said. “So to get rid of those Cold War elements from its policies: no democracy versus authoritarianism narratives no geopolitical confrontation, no decoupling, no supply cut, no arms race. Only by doing so can we prevent U.S.-China relations from sliding into a new Cold War which we all hate to see.”
While Qin urged the U.S. to avoid an arms race, he made no acknowledgment of China’s own potential role in an arms race by rapidly expanding and modernizing its military, including by developing hypersonic missiles and space-based weapons.
Qin’s calls for the U.S. to avoid decoupling from China and moving supply chains out of the country ignored issues raised during the outbreak of COVID-19, when China reportedly rerouted medical supplies from U.S.-owned manufacturers and appeared to use hoarded medical supplies as a bargaining chip to get other countries to meet Chinese diplomatic demands.
Leaders in the U.S. and other western nations have raised concerns about China’s legislative takeover of the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong and the prosecution of Hong Kong dissidents and news publishers. Concerns have also arisen over claims that China is keeping large numbers of ethnic minority Uyghurs in internment camps in Xinjiang and using them for forced labor.
Qin said U.S. sanctions “are doing damage to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, particularly on Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.”
“Chinese companies were wrongly punished in sanctions,” Qin continued “And there are lots of disinformation and the lies around you know. We are not happy with that.”
Citing Qin’s comments about the importance of Chinese territorial sovereignty, Financial Times columnist Edward Luce asked about China’s stance towards Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Qin said, “The issue of Ukraine has historical and practical complexities. It is a long story.
“China observed this issue based on the merits of the matter itself and China makes its decision independently,” Qin continued. “We advocate that national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of all countries must be respected the purposes and the principles of the United Nations Charter must be upheld. The legitimate security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement must be supported. So China’s stance is fair and objective.”