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China: American pivot to Asia needs ‘rebalancing’

May 20th, 2014
03:31 PM ET

Amanpour and Ambassador Cui also spoke about American hacking allegations against China. You can see that portion of the interview here.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The Obama Administration’s much-touted pivot to Asia, a careful balance between supporting U.S. allies and assuring China that America supports its rise, may need to be recalibrated, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“I'm not questioning the intention of the U.S. government,” Ambassador Cui said. “I'm looking at the effect, the results of the U.S. policies towards Asia, towards China and what they have done and said recently.”

“And honestly, I think the key to this rebalancing is to maintain a good relationship with everybody in Asia-Pacific, including particularly China. And in this sense, I think this policy of rebalancing might need some rebalancing itself.”

China is growing increasingly economically and politically powerful; it is engaged in territorial disputes with a number of its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

On a high-profile trip to the region, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Japan and the Philippines, among two others, but did not go to China.

In Japan, Obama stood firm by America’s ally in its dispute with China over islands the Japanese call Senkaku and the Chinese call Diayou.

“Our treaty commitment to Japan's security is absolute,” President Obama said. “And Article Five covers all territories under Japan's administration, including the Senkaku Islands.”

“The Diaoyu Islands,” Ambassador Cui retorted, “they are always part of Chinese heritage. This is quite clear. And we have maintained this position all along. So it is certainly China's sovereign right to defend its territorial integrity.”

Nonetheless, he said, China is worried about, and opposes, any conflict.

Last month, a top adviser to Japan’s prime minister placed blame for tensions on China.

“The reality is hardly a day goes by without us seeing attempts made by the Chinese side to send their official vessels into either contiguous or territorial waters of Japan,” Tomohiko Taniguchi, Special Adviser to the Japanese Prime Minister, told Amanpour.

In order to resolve the dispute, Cui said, “other people have to have the same constructive attitude and policy.”

In Vietnam, China began yesterday to evacuate Chinese nationals who are fleeing the country after deadly violence last week.

The protests stem from China's decision to move an oil rig into disputed waters of the South China Sea. Vietnam claims the rig's presence is "illegal.”

“Now let me get the facts straight on the issue with Vietnam,” Ambassador Cui said. “First, the Chinese companies are operating only 17 nautical miles off a Chinese island, and it's 150 miles from the Vietnamese coast.”

“Number two, this is our only oil drilling operation in the area. But Vietnam is operating more than 30 such drilling operations, all in the disputed areas. Unlike our only one, we are doing it in undisputed areas.”

“Number three, we have only civilian ships, government ships there. But the Vietnamese have military vessels, armed vessels.”

You can see the full transcript of Amanpour's conversation with Ambassador Cui here.


Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Japan • Latest Episode
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Hongle

    America is the biggest bully. It will get what it deserves.

    May 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • LiveFree

      Go ahead, steal more. What else can you do?

      May 20, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Reply
      • limheanbeng

        what else can China do? emulate the USA as guided by Snowden? listen in when Merkel is on the phone? find out other ally country leader's strategy at international summits and outwit them? China may possibly have a bit more to learn from the USA and China's millenniums of statecraft should prepare them to for their lessons.

        May 21, 2014 at 12:00 am |
      • UKUKUKUKUK

        CHinese Huawei and ZTE are world number one and two in patent applying ranking.

        Not MS, Goolge or GE.

        So US people said Huawei and ZTE have stolen from MS, Google and GE!

        This is the level of US people.

        Stupid and stinky!

        With such people China does not need to worry about.

        What "US people is great people", Pfui!

        US people is the most greedy and stinky people in the world.

        The earth should shame on that it has such people sitting on it.

        May 21, 2014 at 4:25 am |
      • Phong

        There are BIG difference between patent applying and patent granting, kiddie. I can apply for 100,000 easily but can get 0 granted.

        May 21, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • Mia Le

      The ambassador's blinking rate is distracting. I suppose it's quite a struggle to remember what he's supposed to say.

      May 29, 2014 at 2:39 am | Reply
  2. LiveFree

    “Now let me get the facts straight on the issue with Vietnam,” Ambassador Cui said. “First, the Chinese companies are operating only 17 nautical miles off a Chinese island, and it's 150 miles from the Vietnamese coast.”

    Mr. Cui forgot to mention the island he talked about was illegally taken from South VN in 1974 by invasion. VN did not recognize China's sovereignty on these islands and it is in dispute.

    “Number two, this is our only oil drilling operation in the area. But Vietnam is operating more than 30 such drilling operations, all in the disputed areas. Unlike our only one, we are doing it in undisputed areas.”

    VN drilling operations are all within VN EEZ recognized by UNCLOS. None of them on international water or within China's EEZ. It's none of China business on how extensive VN explore oil on her own continental shelf. China can have as many drilling operations within China EEZ or international water as she would like, but it is none of her business to get envy with what VN are doing.

    “Number three, we have only civilian ships, government ships there. But the Vietnamese have military vessels, armed vessels.”

    Pure lies as usual. From the beginning, China rig escort armada includes 4 armed naval ships and countless coastguard ships. Till this date, VN has held back Navy ships in fear of accidental clash, giving China a good reason to invade VN.

    As China diplomats are trained liars and brainwashed mouth piece of CCP. I have no respect for any of them. In fact, I have no respect for China as a nation. China is a nation of thugs and thieves.

    May 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • limheanbeng

      “Now let me get the facts straight on the issue with Vietnam,” Ambassador Cui said. “First, the Chinese companies are operating only 17 nautical miles off a Chinese island, and it's 150 miles from the Vietnamese coast.”

      LiveFree – Mr. Cui forgot to mention the island he talked about was illegally taken from South VN in 1974 by invasion. VN did not recognize China's sovereignty on these islands and it is in dispute.

      limheanbeng – LiveFree did not mentioned that France illegally took over Vietnam as a colonial power in the 19th century. in 1938 France, by virtue of being the new owner of Vietnam, illegally invaded Paracel Islands and claimed ownership rights over protestation of a China weakened by internal civil war. in 1974, when Vietnam attacked chinese fishermen on Paracel Islands, China retaliated and won the naval battle. from there on China controlled the island by virtue of historical ownership claims as well as militarily.

      May 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Reply
      • LiveFree

        Proved it. France illegally colonized VN is a matter between French and VN, having nothing to do with China. French later returned Paracel to VN, rightful owner with administration record back to 16th century, in accordance to Geneva agreement dividing VN into North and South signed by all major powers including China. China invaded the islands in 1974 both on sea and land, what do you expect, S.VN navy & guards simply surrendered?

        China hold the islands on illegal basis of force invasion. That's why China constantly refused to settle the matter in International court. VN government has been kind enough not to press the issue to save China face, yet, they have no other choice now.

        May 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
      • limheanbeng

        if u accept wikipedia as a fairly decent and objective source, then it is already proven there. China claims to be the rightful owner with administration records since AD1044. simple and sweet – it is a dispute. let's move on from that point to a viable solution.

        May 21, 2014 at 12:18 am |
      • Phong

        I don't always trust Wikipedia but it's a great way to get references for my researches. Therefore, if you refer to Wikipedia without looking at the citation, your arguments are unreliable. So is this situation, you mentioned China claims to be rightful owner of these islands since AD 1044 while the citations about these claims were written after 1974 when China invaded these islands by force. Does it mean China can claims it is the rightful owner since AD 200 (Han dynasty) by writing a research today to affirm that? Absolutely not because China won't find any evidence. But Vietnam already has enough evidence to prove it is the rightful owner a long time ago, since 15th century including maps, articles, etc.

        However, the thing that annoyed me the most was China's actions to lie the world and its people via communications. As you can see, even Chinese Ambassador to the US can lie so easily. He probably forgot this is the US and communications are not censored like China.

        May 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
      • Blade

        Historical facts and international laws aspects prove that Ambassador Cui's statements are misleading.

        May 22, 2014 at 8:25 am |
    • Anti China

      what a disloyalty, a really dog for his boss, get away from Vietnam sea, a bad consequences waiting for you

      May 21, 2014 at 4:19 am | Reply
  3. LiveFree

    All territorial disputes should be resolved by UN arbitration or International court between governments, before overheated nationalism get them out of control into war. It is immature to use nationalism as a way to resolve territorial disputes.

    May 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Reply
    • limheanbeng

      a cursory read of wikipedia on Paracel Islands will indicate this area is undeniably a disputed territory between China n Vietnam for the past few centuries. by virtue of China's ownership claims over the island, China's declared EEZ overlaps with Vietnams EEZ. in short, it is a dispute. Vietnam has been drilling in the disputed area and now China is simply responding with an oil rig to balance the equation with "facts on ground".

      the question is – why don't China submit to international courts/agencies/arbitration to resolve the matter. the answer is that China simply do not trust the impartiality of these international mechanism as their world view is that these are "western agencies". China has a perception that they will not get a fair hearing. hence China's insistence that these disputes be settled internally between the two countries.

      May 20, 2014 at 11:46 pm | Reply
      • limheanbeng

        a more viable proposal may be for China and Vietnam to jointly agree on a panel of independent judges with credible international stature and a clear unbiased understanding of the history of the dispute (possibly guided by scholars and historians) to arbitrate on the matter. both parties to legally pledge to honor and implement whatever the panel decides as a solution and that should be the final word on the matter.

        May 20, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
      • LiveFree

        That may be a solution.

        May 21, 2014 at 12:09 am |
      • limheanbeng

        thanks LiveFree, for the support. now u just have to give me a little more time to work my way up the ranks and voila, its done. bye

        May 21, 2014 at 12:22 am |
      • Phong

        Once China already agreed to participate in UNCLOS or other agreements between countries, all disputes must be resolved according to the agreements it signed up. If China is afraid of being treated unfairly, why would it participate in these agreements? It is funny that you mentioned but China used to claim Senkaku based on UNCLOS, but for islands in South China Sea it never mentioned a WORD.

        I don't agree with the independent judges or third-party arbitration because they are not credible. UNCLOS judges or international courts are reliable and supported by many countries. They are also supported by Chinese government because they are the one who signed up to participate in these agreements.

        May 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • LotusVo

        As you and everybody in the world know, China is not a weak country compare to Vietnam, about military and economics. Can China let Vietnam drill in its EEZ for such many years and with many oil rigs? Your arguments are so fool and just deceive kids. Over thousand years ago, China has always invaded Vietnam and tried to occupied our land, both in mainland and sea. Does China let Vietnam to bully it easily? The answer is always the same, NO! So, your arguments are ridiculous.

        May 21, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
  4. Min

    CHINA IS BULLYING WHOLE ASIA. THE EVENT HAPPENED IN VIETNAM BEHIND THAT IS CHINA. STOP STEALING FROM OTHER

    May 21, 2014 at 7:41 am | Reply
  5. Thomas

    Wow, what a liar and conniving thief. I can't believe CNN let this liar be on air to talk about this whole issue. It is like China is trying to steal and yelling thief at the same time. The "Chinese island" isn't their in the first place. So there's no such thing as "operating only 17 nautical miles off a Chinese island" if the Chinese didn't ignore all international law and redraw the map in the shape of a cow tongue claiming all of the Southeast Asian Sea.

    CNN, please do a better job on interviewing people from a non-Chinese perspective so we can have a better look at things.

    May 21, 2014 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • LotusVo

      Yeah, agree with you this point. I think CNN should add more question before anding the interview, because it makes confused understanding for those who don't know the fact. What the ambassador said is just his view to deceive the world.

      May 21, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  6. Chu Tuấn Tài

    No, Mr. Cue that is not your Chinese Islands, Chinese government invaded from Vietnam. It's shame to said that

    May 21, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  7. Chi Nguyen

    Funny enough, the "Chinese island" that Ambassador Cui mentioned in the article is Paracel Islands and in fact they are Vietnamese islands, which China stole from our country by violence in 1974. Stop saying stolen and occupied islands are yours, China.
    China should stop looking and steal our lands/islands from Vietnam, as well as other neighbor countries!

    May 22, 2014 at 12:45 am | Reply
  8. Genkis Kan

    Chinese military has published plans that it intends to fight Vietnam in the near future to take over its energy rich offshore sites and fishing grounds. (David Crosby comments on CNN)

    May 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  9. ashok

    China's recent behaviour has created the need for a US pivot to Asia.

    May 22, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  10. Toppies Van Vuuren

    it seems like some Children will never know the value of peace.

    May 23, 2014 at 3:23 am | Reply
  11. Huang

    Historical facts cannot provide a resolution for current conflicts. Stop accusing some one as a liar because any position that a person holds is related to his/her upbringing; there is no right or wrong.

    May 23, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  12. Lam

    I think France can how deeply understand about the cost of Dien Bien Phu inland in 1954 , how clearly America can know about the cost of Dien Bien Phu on air in 1972. Remember and take it as a lesson for you – China. Don't underestimate Vietnam. We don't wanna have any more Dien Bien Phu on East Sea.
    Don't underestimate Vietnamese people's determination. We love peace, we wanna live in peace and we can die for sovereign rights. Remember to the failures of yours – China – as invading our country. 

    May 29, 2014 at 8:45 am | Reply
  13. lulz

    “I'm not questioning the intention of the U.S. government,”

    WE TOTALLY ARE QUESTIONING THE INTENTIONS OF THE US GOVERNMENT.

    and why not?

    June 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Reply

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