The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, published (August 20) the text of the keynote speech delivered by Cui Tiankai, Beijing’s Ambassador to the United States, at a webinar hosted by the Brookings Institution on August 20. In his speech, Cui Tiankai frankly stated “Today, the China-US relationship is going in the wrong direction” which "Some people describe it as "free fall." The relationship between the two countries has always had problems and difficulties of this kind, but what is alarming now is that some people try to deny the achievements of the two generations through decades of hard work and deliberately push the two sides into confrontation and conflict". Stating that "Some people may think that confrontation will help contain China's development and even change the Chinese regime", he cautioned "This is wishful thinking. History has repeatedly proved that external pressure will only make the Chinese people more united, the Chinese society more cohesive, and the Chinese economy more resilient. Some people are so obsessed with the term "cold war", perhaps because they think they have won the cold war, but they should not forget the price the world has paid for the cold war for more than 40 years. Even during the Cold War, there were two hot battles, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, which caused the United States and related countries to pay a heavy price. We should not let history repeat itself". “[T]he fundamental question for the China-US relationship is: … is the United States ready to…live with a country with a different history, culture and system?” He said “China and United States [sic] should…play a positive role for a ‘post-pandemic’ world order and global governance system, and build a more forward-looking, stronger and more stable relationship.” Touching on a subject being watched by many people, he pointedly said "Some people may think that China is waiting for the results of the US general election in November this year. I would like to declare that China has not waited, let alone wasting time in waiting. It is far beyond China's ability to predict or influence the direction of US internal affairs. China has neither the will nor the interest to get involved". He said in conclusion "I also hope that some people in the US will get rid of fear and paranoia as soon as possible, because this is causing them to lose common sense, even to the point of shocking..... . All sectors of society in China and the United States should be highly vigilant of any sinister attempt to push Sino-US relations into confrontation and conflict, resolutely prevent the resurgence of "McCarthyism", actively expand exchanges and cooperation, and push Sino-US relations back on track as soon as possible".

(Comment: Cui Tiankai's comments suggest that Beijing is now of the view that the Trump Administration's policy on China has bipartisan support and is unlikely to change regardless of who wins in November. They reflect Beijing's concern that some quarters in the US are attempting "regime change". Cui Tiankai has also attempted to forestall any future criticism that China interfered in the US elections and cautioned against fanning of 'anti-China' sentiment while Beijing continues to push for reconciliation.)

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