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.