Chinese ambassador to US says sovereignty is not bargaining chip in bilateral ties

Ambassador Cui Tiankai, pictured here during a visit to Singapore in 2005, said Beijing and Washington needed to work to strengthen their relationship.
Ambassador Cui Tiankai, pictured here during a visit to Singapore in 2005, said Beijing and Washington needed to work to strengthen their relationship.PHOTO: MINDEF

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - In a veiled warning to US President-elect Donald Trump, China's ambassador to the United States on Wednesday (Dec 14) said that China would never bargain with Washington over issues involving its national sovereignty or territorial integrity.

Ambassador Cui Tiankai, speaking to executives of top US companies, said Beijing and Washington needed to work to strengthen their relationship.

"The political foundation of China-US relations should not be undermined. It should be preserved," Mr Cui said.

"And basic norms of international relations should be observed, not ignored, certainly not be seen as something you can trade off. And indeed, national sovereignty and territorial integrity are not bargaining chips. Absolutely not."

He did not specifically mention Taiwan, nor Mr Trump's comments last weekend that the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its longstanding policy of recognising that Taiwan is part of China.

But Mr Cui's remarks are in line with recent protests from China's Foreign Ministry, which regards the four-decade one-China principle as the "political basis" for US-China ties.