Chinese envoy to US warns of 'glass curtain'

He says some in US are trying to impede bilateral exchanges between the two nations

WASHINGTON • Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai has cautioned that some people in the US are trying to place a "glass curtain" between the two countries, calling for enhanced dialogue to eliminate the "deficit of mutual understanding".

Mr Cui made the remarks last Friday at the panel discussion "Forty Years of US-China Relations" hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a policy research organisation based in Washington.

The event, gathering over 200 people from politics, business, academia and media, was held to discuss "the twists and turns in the relationship over the last four decades and the challenges that lie ahead", the CSIS said on its website.

China and the US will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

Beijing and Washington, after having come together 40 years ago, united by common strategic interests, have seen the expansion of their cooperation and common interests in bilateral, regional and global issues, the ambassador said.

Their wide-ranging common interests have stimulated bilateral relations and will serve as an important foundation of their future ties, he said.

As history proves, the common interests of China and the US are greater than their differences, Mr Cui said, adding that this will ensure the sustainable and healthy development of bilateral ties.

He called on China and the US to enhance dialogue to eliminate the "deficit of mutual understanding".

China has no desire to contend for global dominance with the US; rather, it wishes to work with the US for a new type of relations featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, he said.

It would be naive to hope that good faith could serve as the basis of nation-to-nation relations. However, it would be more dangerous to see a country's foreign policy defined by hostility, fear and suspicion, Mr Cui said.

There are some people in the US who are trying to place a "glass curtain" between the two nations, so as to impede bilateral exchanges in economy, science and technology, and people-to-people engagements, and even stoke suspicion against exchange students and research fellows from China, he said.

China hopes that these ominous trends will not be recognised by US mainstream society, Mr Cui said.

He said the biggest challenge for large countries now is not posed by foreign competitors, but by their domestic governance.

The right choice for the US is to increase engagement with China, rather than to confront, he said.

Like a race, the correct way to compete is to run faster and not to look back to see who is catching up or standing in one's way, he added.

On the topic of China's requirement that foreign airlines not list China's Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as "countries", Mr Cui said any foreign company doing business in China shall abide by its laws as required by widely recognised international standards.

Mr Cui also talked about the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, saying that any future negotiations should give full consideration to the security concerns of all parties, including North Korea, South Korea, China, the US, Russia and Japan.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2018, with the headline 'Chinese envoy to US warns of 'glass curtain''. Print Edition | Subscribe