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CGTN 2021-10-15 69次


Transcript of Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng’s Exclusive Interview with CGTN on Issues Relating to China’s Foreign Affairs


Q1: The United States’ 20-year long war in Afghanistan ended up in its hasty withdrawal. What can people learn from this?


Le Yucheng: What happened in Afghanistan is an epitome of the once-in-a-century changes across the world. The most important thing to be learned is that the time has passed when superpower can just throw its weight around. The United States is a giant, mighty and formidable, while Afghanistan is a war-torn country, poor and weak. But everyone sees clearly how the United States left Afghanistan in a panic after paying a high price. As we said before, gone are the days when one country, armed with only a couple of cannons, could occupy another. The Afghan War once again shows that hegemony cannot be maintained however advanced the weapons you have.


Follow-up: What is the biggest lesson from the United States policy on Afghanistan? Do you think that the United States will learn a lesson?


Le Yucheng: There is an ancient Chinese saying - power may win for the time being, but justice prevails in the long run. The keyword here is justice - without justice, no one can succeed no matter how strong they are.


Despite its repeated mistakes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the United States seems to have yet learned a lesson. The U.S. declared that it ended the Afghan War to focus on major country competition, meaning with China. But in 20 years from now, the U.S. would realize that it has probably targeted a wrong enemy and made an even bigger mistake. As an online comment points out, with an expired ticket from the Cold War era, one cannot board the high-speed train of the 21st century.


Q2: During the National Day holidays, Director Yang Jiechi had a meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Zurich, Switzerland. Before this, the presidents of the two countries had two phone calls, and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Special Envoy John Kerry visited China. Are these frequent high-level contacts signs of improvement in bilateral relations?


Le Yucheng: Since the beginning of the year, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had two phone calls. They reached important common understandings, pointing the way forward for China-U.S. relations. Diplomatic representatives from the two sides held talks in Anchorage, Tianjin, and last week in Zurich. Vice Premier Liu He had a virtual meeting with USTR Katherine Tai a few days ago. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry visited China twice this year.

I list all these high-level talks we had with the U.S. to indicate that China is always ready to act with goodwill, sincerity, and work to improve China-U.S. relations, and that our door to dialogue is open at any time. In addition, the two sides have recently established a joint working group to discuss how to address some specific issues in bilateral relations. And they do have made some progress. This proves that dialogue and cooperation are indispensable, and that confrontation and conflict will lead us nowhere.

We take seriously U.S. recent positive statements on China-U.S. relations. We hope to see them translated into policies and actions, and more concrete steps being taken so that the two sides can work together to answer what we call the “Question of the Century”: whether we can handle our relations well. This is a question the two sides must provide a good answer.


Follow-up: Will there be a presidential summit in the near future? If so, will it be a turning point?


Le Yucheng: In his phone call with President Joe Biden, President Xi Jinping agreed to maintain frequent contact through multiple means. To follow through on what was agreed by the two presidents, the representatives of the two countries discussed in Zurich a meeting between the two presidents through video link by the end of the year. In the meantime, the two sides need to work together to build a good atmosphere and create positive conditions for the two presidents to meet.


Q3: Early Oct., US Trade Representative Katherine Tai gave a preview of the Biden Administration’s trade policy on China. She said decoupling is not realistic, and that re-coupling a distant possibility. But she also mentioned working with like-minded economies to counter China’s “non-market practices”. What are your comments?


Le Yucheng: We have noted that there are some positive elements in the USTR’s remarks. At the same time, we firmly reject her groundless accusations. I want to stress that China and the United States are an indivisible community with shared interests. Despite U.S. attempts of decoupling and disruption of the supply chain and the impact of COVID-19, two-way trade still expanded by 8.8 percent in 2020. And in the first eight months this year, bilateral trade rose to 470 billion dollars, up by 36.6 percent year on year.

Economic cooperation and trade are vital to the shared interests of China and the United States, and any setback will be fundamentally harmful. According to reports released by Moody’s, trade war with China has cost the U.S. around 300 thousand jobs, and every American family has lost about 600 dollars. Over 90 percent of the costs caused by the extra tariffs on Chinese imports have been borne by American companies and consumers.

乐玉成:我们注意到美国贸易代表的讲话中有一些积极因素,同时坚决拒绝其无端指责。我想强调的是,中美是不可分割的利益共同体,即便在美方搞脱钩断供和疫情冲击的背景下,中美贸易额 2020 年逆势增长 8.8%,今年1至8月,中美贸易额更是同比增长 36.6%、达到 4700 亿美元。经贸合作可以说是“连筋带骨”,任何打击都会“伤筋动骨”。穆迪公司调查显示,对华贸易战让美国失去了约 30 万个就业岗位,平均每个家庭损失约 600 美元。美国对自中国进口商品加征的关税中,超过 90%由美国企业和消费者承担。

According to AmCham Shanghai’s latest report in September, 78 percent of the surveyed companies are either “optimistic or slightly optimistic” about the next five years in China. That is nearly 20 percentage points higher compared to 2020.

You mentioned just now that USTR Katherine Tai also acknowledged that trade decoupling with China is not realistic in a global economy, and the U.S. is considering a kind of re-coupling with China. We hope the U.S. government will truly change its course and work with the business community to turn economic cooperation and trade into an “ice-breaker” in China-U.S. relations.

我注意到,上海美国商会 9 月最新调查显示,78%的受访企业表示对未来五年在华业务展望持“乐观或略微乐观”态度,比 2020 年提升近 20 个百分点。你刚才提及美国贸易代表戴琪也承认,与中国贸易“脱钩”在全球经济背景下并不现实,美需思考如何与中国“再挂钩”。希望美方真正改弦易辙,通过政商共同努力,使经贸合作成为打破中美关系僵局的“破冰船”。

Q4: Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have announced the creation of a trilateral security partnership called “AUKUS” and planned to cooperate on nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. How will this affect the regional situation?


Le Yucheng: AUKUS is a small bloc composed of Anglo-Saxon nations. It advocates a new Cold War, and stirs up zero-sum geopolitical games. AUKUS brings only harm, nothing good at all. First of all, it triggers the risks of nuclear proliferation, seriously violates the spirit of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and brings harm to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty. It undermines the progress toward a Southeast Asia nuclear weapon-free zone. The recent collision accident of a U.S. nuclear submarine in the South China Sea is an alarming example. Although we have not heard of report of nuclear leak yet, it is still a very serious matter. Frequent entry of nuclear submarines into the South China Sea brings high risks of nuclear proliferation and on nuclear safety. If not handled properly, it may cause a nuclear disaster.

At the same time, AUKUS aims to seek maritime hegemony. It stokes arms race in the region, fuels military risk-taking, and undermines regional peace and stability. China firmly opposes AUKUS. Countries in the region and the international community all have plenty of reasons to oppose and resist it.

乐玉成:AUKUS 搞盎格鲁—撒克逊小圈子,为新冷战鼓风,挑动地缘零和博弈,有百害无一利。首先,AUKUS 带来核扩散风险,严重违反《不扩散核武器条约》精神,损害《南太平洋无核区条约》,破坏东南亚无核区建设。日前,美国核潜艇在南海发生撞击事故就是一个警示。虽暂未听说造成核泄漏,但性质很严重。核潜艇频繁出入南海,核扩散与核安全隐患很大,弄不好将引发核灾难。此外,AUKUS企图搞海上霸权,加剧地区军备竞赛,助长军事冒险,破坏地区和平稳定,中方坚决反对,地区各国和国际社会也有千万个理由共同反对和抵制它。

Follow-up: Some claim that China’s increasingly tough stance and growing military prowess in recent years were the reasons that strategic alliances such as AUKUS came into being. What is your take?

追问:有人说是中国近年来的强硬和军力增长给了AUKUS 这种战略联盟存在的理由,您如何看?

Le Yucheng: To find a cover for an egregious act by blaming others, that’s unfair and unreasonable. On one hand, the U.S. and the U.K. use sanctions to deter other countries from developing uranium enrichment technology. But on the other hand, they blatantly equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. They dished out “China assertiveness” as an excuse, but it cannot cover their double standard. Their real intention is to draw a line along races, stoke military confrontation, and create tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, in order to profit from it.

乐玉成:干坏事,找借口,让别人来背锅,这是典型的蛮不讲理。美英一边高举制裁大棒,不允许其他国家开发铀浓缩技术,一边明目张胆给澳装备核潜艇,炮制“中国强硬论”当做“遮羞布”,也掩盖不了赤裸裸的双重标准。在亚太地区搞种族划线、军事对抗、制造地区紧张,企图浑水摸鱼,这才是 AUKUS 这种所谓联盟存在的真正意图。

Q5: There have been more noises on the issue of Taiwan recently. You said once that it is dangerous to play the “Taiwan card”. But some people seem eager to play it anyway. What do you think is behind this? And what would be the consequences?


Le Yucheng: The noises you refer to are that some people in the United States breach the one-China commitment and keep stepping on the red line, using salami tactics and playing the “Taiwan card”. The one-China principle is the cornerstone of the establishment and development of our diplomatic ties. Without a solid foundation, everything above will be shaky. Taking the foundation as a card is as dangerous as playing with fire while holding firewood. On the other hand, Taiwan should not entertain being used as a card. A self-perceived trump card may eventually end up being useless or discarded.


I wish to emphasize that any attempt to contain China by using the Taiwan question, and to obstruct China’s reunification and rejuvenation will end up in failure. China’s reunification and rejuvenation is unstoppable. As President Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the meeting marking the 110th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 that no one should underestimate the resolve, the will and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The historic mission of China’s complete reunification must be achieved and can definitely be achieved.


Q6: The U.S. claims that it does not want a new Cold War, but at the same time, it is forming small blocs and putting together the so-called “Leaders’ Summit for Democracy”. What is your view about that?


Le Yucheng: I have noticed that in his recent UN General Assembly speech, President Joe Biden said that the U.S. is not seeking a new Cold War or a divided world. But at the same time the United States has moved to piece together AUKUS, upgrade the Quad and enhance the Five Eyes. This is nothing but the same old Cold War approach.


With regard to the so-called Summit for Democracy, the U.S. record of democracy is anything but glorious. The storming of the Capitol is still fresh in everybody’s memory. Internationally, the U.S. has created one mess after another through “color revolution” and “democratic transformation”. Moreover, with only some members of the international community participating, how democratic can the summit be?

Democracy is a common value of the entire humanity, not a special right for any individual country. Monopolizing the definition of democracy to the advantage of certain countries and instigating ideological confrontation along the line of “democracy versus authoritarianism” is the direct opposite of democracy. It will bring nothing but harm.


Follow-up: How will China respond on the diplomatic front to the wrong actions by the U.S.? What specific actions have been taken?


Le Yucheng: While the United States is busy building small blocs and playing zero-sum games in geopolitics, China is more actively safeguarding international peace and stability, building a community with a shared future for mankind, and making positive contribution to the world.

In his speech at the General Assembly, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative to promote more robust, greener and more balanced global development and to speed up the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We have provided more than 1.25 billion doses of vaccines for the world, and will raise the total number to two billion doses by the end of this year. We are working hard to get the world together to fight the virus, oppose politicizing origins-tracing, and enable the world to step out of the shadow of the pandemic as soon as possible.

We are taking an active part in international cooperation on climate change and implementing the climate cooperation initiatives put forth by President Xi Jinping. We have announced that we will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad. And this week we are hosting COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference in order to facilitate a global transition toward green and low-carbon development.

We are playing a unique and constructive role on hotspot issues, such as Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear issue, and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, in order to safeguard regional peace and stability.

We uphold true multilateralism. We actively promote the reform of the global governance system. We are firmly opposed to any attempt to create a new Cold War.

China’s diplomacy always strives to conform with the trend of the times, to stand on the right side of history and to uphold international fairness and justice. This is the right path, and we will stay the course.

乐玉成:与美国忙于拉各种小圈子、搞地缘零和博弈相对照,中国更加积极维护国际和平稳定、推动构建人类命运共同体,不断为世界注入正能量。习近平主席今年在联大讲话中,向世界郑重提出全球发展倡议,致力于推动实现更加强劲、绿色、健康的全球发展,加快落实联合国 2030 年可持续发展议程。我们已经向世界提供超过 12.5亿剂疫苗,年内将提供 20 亿剂,积极凝聚全球抗疫合力,反对疫情溯源政治化,助推世界尽快走出疫情阴影。我们积极参与气候变化国际合作,落实习主席提出的气变合作主张和倡议,宣布不再新建境外煤电项目,筹备举办《生物多样性公约》第十五次缔约方大会、联合国全球可持续交通大会等,助力世界绿色低碳转型。我们同国际社会一道参与调解地区热点,在阿富汗、伊核、朝核等问题上发挥独特的建设性作用,维护地区和平稳定。我们坚持真正的多边主义,积极推动全球治理体系改革,坚决反对搞“新冷战”。中国外交始终顺应时代发展潮流,始终站在历史正确一边,始终维护国际公平正义。这条正确的道路,我们会坚定不移走下去。

Q7: Thanks to the efforts by the Chinese government, Ms. Meng Wanzhou returned to the motherland on 25 September. Some comments suggest that China is by far the only country that was able to push back U.S. long-arm jurisdiction. What factors contributed to Meng’s return?


Le Yucheng: With the relentless efforts of the Chinese government, Meng Wanzhou returned home safely after over 1,000 days of illegal detention. Her return on the eve of China’s National Day, was a particularly special gift on the occasion.

The Chinese authorities always had Meng Wanzhou in mind during her nearly three years of illegal detention. President Xi Jinping paid personal attention to the situation. During his phone call with U.S. president, President Xi raised the issue explicitly and urged the U.S. to properly resolve it as soon as possible. Of course, the support of the 1.4 billion Chinese people has been a tremendous factor. A netizen commented that Meng was detained and released because of China’s rise. Our competent authorities and diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S. and Canada also worked very hard. After her return, the Foreign Ministry has received many flowers, especially from university students. It is a big endorsement of our people-centered diplomacy.



Follow-up: What does China’s experience mean to other countries?


Le Yucheng: Some say Meng Wanzhou was freed from not only the electronic tracker, but also the shackles of hegemony and coercion, and it shows that nothing can stand in the way of Chinese people’s march forward. I have noted that Frédéric Pierucci, a former senior manager of the French company Alstom, commented that her case is likely to be a historic turning point, encouraging other countries to stand up and fight back in the face of hegemony and power politics. I believe he is right.


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