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Transcript of the Interview of H.E. Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., with Bloomberg TV's Bloomberg Day break: Americas

(From Chinese Embassy in America)


On May 24, 2019, Ambassador Cui Tiankai had an interview with Bloomberg TV's Bloomberg Day break: Americas. The full transcript is as follows:

Anchor: So welcome, Mr. Ambassador. Good to have you here. You've heard and you studied, I'm sure, what President Trump said. Give us some perspectives from the Chinese government's point of view. When you listened something like that, is that possibly a crack open the door to say maybe we can get back to the table and resolve the entire set of disputes?

Ambassador Cui: Well, I think what is happening to Huawei is rather unusual. You see the mobilization of the state power against a private company. What are people really up to under the pretext of national security? We don't know. Can they really stop the technological progress? Can they really deprive people of the right to benefit from the technologies? I don't think so. And do they really have the interests of the American people in mind? I don't think so either. For the trade talks between China and the United States, I think these talks have to be based on mutual respect and aim for mutual benefits. It has to be a balanced approach.

Anchor: What you have said is that Huawei is a private company. That is an issue of some contention. There are allegations in the United States that in fact there is ownership from the Chinese military in Huawei. From the Chinese government perspective, is that inaccurate?

Ambassador Cui: This is a groundless suspicion. People never come up with any evidence. And the fact is so clear---- Huawei is owned by its own staff. It's really a privately owned and held company. It's been there for so many years.

Anchor: So one thing that I'm struck by is there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the trade talks may resolve. But the businesses in China have reduced their investments in the US dramatically. And I'm wondering how much their attitude toward the United States has changed. Uh, that is perhaps irreversible in the short term?

Ambassador Cui: I think the uncertainty about the trade talks between our two countries is very much a result of the frequent changing of position by the U.S. side. We have been consistent all along, but they have changed their minds overnight so often. As for the Chinese investment in the United States, there is such enthusiasm among the Chinese business to make investment here, but they are facing increasing restrictions. A lot of barriers have been raised against them. I don't know why.

Anchor: You talk about the United States government changing its position. The reports out of the United States side was that what broke down the talks most recently was that the Chinese delegation came back and physically marked up a draft and took out language and changed language and changed its position. What do you think led to the breakdown of the talks?

Ambassador Cui: You see, the talks have been going on for quite a few months. And of course there is naturally discussion of all the issues, back and forth, exchange of views. So everything was in the process. There was no agreement yet. But if we look back what happened last year, for instance, in May last year, we did have some agreement. The two sides even issued a joint statement. Then there was a change of mind on the U.S. side, just over night.

Anchor:Does China believe that it could win a technology war with the United States?

Ambassador Cui: Why we should have technological war with each other? We should have cooperation and collaboration between us.

Anchor:What about a trade war?

Ambassador Cui: I never believe the term trade war is a good one. Trade is about mutual benefit. War is about mutual destruction. How can you put these two very different concepts in one term?

Anchor:And yet as the United States has put tariffs on for example, China has felt the need to respond with tariffs. We have not had yet a response from the Chinese government all other than language to the Huawei situation. Should we expect some specific concrete actions taken by the Chinese government in response to what the U.S. government has done with Huawei and other telecom companies?

Ambassador Cui: Well, we will do whatever necessary to protect the legitimate interests of our companies, of our people and of our country.

Anchor: And what might that be, sir?

Ambassador Cui: well, we'll just wait and see.

Anchor:When would we find out?

Ambassador Cui: We'll see. We'll see. If things are moving in the wrong direction, then you could see response very soon. But if we could work together to put things in the right direction, then things will get better of course.

Anchor:Do you think that things have materially deteriorated in the past two weeks to make you much less optimistic about a trade deal?

Ambassador Cui: We still believe that talks, communication and consultations on equal footing is the only way out for any disputes between us. And we are still committed to that.

Anchor:But do you think that President Trump has proved to be a reliable enough actor for China to deal with here?

Ambassador Cui: We are ready to deal with the current administration under President Trump. And actually for the last couple of years, we have made good progress with him.

Anchor:When you talk about talks, at what level? Have your vice Premier Liu He and Ambassador Lighthizer taken as far as they can? Do we need now a meeting between President Xi and President Trump at the G20?

Ambassador Cui: I think the two teams are working very hard and in a very professional way. So we still have expectation that they will be able to conclude that work and present the outcome of their talks to the two heads of state. Of course, the two presidents always provide strategic guidance to the overall relations.

Anchor: Is China doing everything that it can to de-escalate the situation with the North Korea right now?

Ambassador Cui: You see, over the years, we have been making a great deal of efforts to cool down the situation on the Korean peninsula and to make real progress towards the goal of denuclearization. And we feel encouraged when President Trump met with Chairman Kim twice, and we'll do whatever we can to help them to make further progress.

Anchor: Do you expect President Xi and President Trump to meet over in Osaka, the G20? And if so, do you think that the teams will move things far enough along to come to at least a tentative deal at that time, or is it going to take longer than that?

Ambassador Cui: So far, there is no official discussion about possible meetings between the two Presidents, but the possibility is always open.

Anchor: So what's your message right now to the United States?

Ambassador Cui: Our message to the U.S. is very clear. We want to establish a good relationship with the United States based on coordination, cooperation, and stability, and we believe there are growing areas for our cooperation. So we should expand our cooperation for mutual benefit. But of course there are always differences between us and we should manage them on the basis of mutual respect.

Anchor: In a very broad sense, China has been a remarkable success story. I don't think in the history of the world you've seen a country come that far that fast. Does the Chinese government agree that that means the situation between the United States and China must be reviewed, must be revised? The relations with a country that is really a small, you know, struggling company is very different from what we have now with a really world power. Do you agree that it's time to reset the terms of trade and reference between the two countries?

Ambassador Cui: Well, China has made remarkable progress over the last few decades. This is mainly because of our own hard work, but this is also possible because of our cooperation with other countries, including the United States. We don't believe China can develop and prosper in isolation. We want to remain open, will seek more cooperation with others. Hopefully doors will not be shut on us.

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