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A rare look over The Great Wall

July 8th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Are the U.S. and China headed for a “new great power relationship?”

That is what Xi Jinping, China’s new president has called for. He and U.S. President Barack Obama kicked off that vision last month, in an unusually informal meeting at the Sunnylands resort in California.

And in a rare and exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said that it’s “obvious” that the countries need each other.

“The United States is the most powerful country in the world,” Ambassador Cui said. “China is working very hard to modernize the country to develop its economy and improve the livelihood of its people. So it's very obvious that it's important for China to have stable and healthy relations with the United States.”

Cui is on the front lines of implementing the two presidents’ vision for a new relationship between China and the U.S.

And though the surroundings at the bucolic Sunnylands may been relaxing, the conversation about the challenges ahead almost certainly was not.

On top of that list of importance between the two countries is likely cyber security, with both countries trading allegations of widespread espionage.

The issue, or some version of it, was recently brought to the fore, when former U.S. intelligence officer Edward Snowden escaped from the Chinese “Special Administrative Region” of Hong Kong – that case, Cui said, is “none of our business.”

But the world of cyber is a much broader issue than one young American.

“I don't think finger-pointing would be helpful to either side,” Ambassador Cui said. “And technologically, the United States is much more advanced than China in information technology. So normally, I always believe it should be the weaker side to worry about the stronger side, not the other way around.”

A working group on cyber security that the two countries have set up, he said, is a good indication that the U.S. and China want to “work together” on the issue.

Washington and Beijing have seemed closer together on another issue of great importance to both governments: North Korea.

Long known as North Korea’s closest ally, China has recently seemed to distance itself, suggesting that denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula is as much a goal of the Chinese government as stability.

“I think that denuclearization and stability are part of the same thing,” Ambassador Cui told Amanpour.

With nuclear weapons on the peninsula, there is no guarantee of stability, he said, but military intervention to stop North Korea from weaponizing would be self-defeating.

“We are trying our best to bring everybody back to negotiations; so far, we have not succeeded,” Ambassador Cui said. “We hope that others could do the same.”

Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Freddie Nerk

    The US and China are not allies. They are adversaries. We do not share the same values of freedom and democracy. They spy on us and steal our technology. Their markets are rigged against foreign companies. We have surrendered millions of our jobs to their manufacturing, reducing our standard of living. Ofcourse they let Snowden go. If they did not, then we should be punishing Hong Kong severely.

    July 9, 2013 at 1:11 am | Reply
    • Mike Bracken

      If we really espoused the values of freedom and democracy, we wouldn't be hounding foreign diplomat's to deny asylum to a whistle-blower against over-reach by the government. Our markets are rigged against foreign companies. Google 'US farming subsidies' and be educated.

      July 9, 2013 at 3:18 am | Reply
    • joker

      so what is your values of freedom and democracy? spying on your people and your allies?overthrowing a foreign government for oil?being blind to slaughter of your crucial ally like Egypt? i bet Chinese do not share same value with you. China is never the one who rush to intervene the others matters, remember? and China is never the one who cry about everything regardless of how the others feel about, we call it manner, not burden or self- restriction. the world will forgive you only when US learned how to respect the world and realize that everyone is really born equal in front of god. By the way, if you watched the new film "superman: steel body", you would get some clues.

      July 9, 2013 at 3:40 am | Reply
    • Matt

      >> They spy on us

      And you spy on them.

      >> We have surrendered millions of our jobs to their manufacturing

      That's not the fault of China or the Chinese, but entirely due to your own greed.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:21 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Your freedom and democracy comes from sucking the blood of others. We should be glad China don't share your murderous tendency.

      July 9, 2013 at 8:33 am | Reply
  2. Chinese Jack

    How to punish Hong Kong?

    July 9, 2013 at 2:36 am | Reply
    • ATroll

      To curb all Chinese tourist and student, and relocate the US consulate an CIA office from HK.

      July 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  3. DH he still waiting for his luggage to show up?

    July 9, 2013 at 3:29 am | Reply
  4. Whatzthefuss

    Give the man some credit. He is standing up for what he believes. Why else would he risk everything and most importantly, his personal freedom to tell the world that Freedom is a Human Right and not 'just some people talking'?

    He doesn't sound or look like some sinister demented vengeful nerd out to make some extra bucks, see the world and sleep in airports for free just to spite his new mother-in-law.

    Americans are proving that Freedom is just another four letter word, something to fight and die for but equally something to give away just as cheaply. You send your youths to fight and die in foreign lands by the thousands for Freedom and then you sneak up on them like some sinister hydra. But they don't really care, do they?

    July 9, 2013 at 4:46 am | Reply
  5. Joseph O A Esq

    Good talks. US and China needs one another for a brighter future for the world

    July 9, 2013 at 4:59 am | Reply
  6. Deepak

    Interesting interview. Questions were straight, simple and provoking. Admiringly, answers were also precise, appeared frank and witty- specially linking other reforms to the political reforms, which is true.
    As far as the freedom and democracy is concerned, it's also a time to rethink on extent of freedom that is good for the larger section and interest of the people.

    July 9, 2013 at 6:37 am | Reply
  7. JC

    I'm bothered by the ambassador's extreme humility especially regarding their "inferior" level of IT when measured against the US. I am not at all certain that that is the case. In terms of equipment for war and vehicle technology the US might be ahead by quite a bit, or at least they have more of the stuff. Wrt to Nukes, well I often find it funny how a country with 1000's of nukes can point out other countries who have less than 10% of that. Yes, Nukes are nukes and in general a bad idea to have unless you have a score to settle with an invading Alien race or maybe a nice chunk of Space rock, but if you yourself have enough to wipe out most of mankind, how can you fault others for wanting the same?

    July 9, 2013 at 8:17 am | Reply
    • HZ

      Um, you should go do some research on nuclear weapons delivery.... U.S. air power versus Chinese.. and other long range weapons systems. Also look into what calculations (strategic) governments make when deciding to use force. China may have a huge population and vast army but if they ever tried to play in the area the U.S. is best in they'd lose. That may change some day but probably not in our lifetimes.

      July 9, 2013 at 8:53 am | Reply
  8. africanman

    As history has shown :

    "whiteman(american) speak in forked tongue"

    July 9, 2013 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • Benny Hedberg

      As history has shown:
      "Blackmen are lazy and stupid"

      July 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  9. 凯尔

    I just LOVE these westerners who sit back with their "The US is the center of the universe" blinders on, complaining about how "horrible" the US is, in comparison to China... having probably never stepped foot outside of the US. It's like reading an article about a child's push cart and screaming about how horrible your Ferrari is.

    To reply to someone commenting on something such as the lack of democracy in China, by whining about your perceptions of how horrible the state of democracy in the US is – is infantile, to say the least.

    Step outside of your comfort zone once in a while and you will learn to appreciate what you DO have in the west, compared to the massive scat-heap that is China.

    By the way, the idea that the mainland had nothing to do with it, that it was somehow "none of their business", is about as believable as the mountain of Lei Feng stories that permeate this culture.

    July 9, 2013 at 11:33 am | Reply
    • Licensed_To_Write

      Well, the level of hypocrisy in American politics is just mind boggling, if the American President lied and invades Iraq on the false pretense of Iraq acquiring weapons of mass destruction when there were none, it was ok, just an oversight, Iraq President Saddam Hussein was and is an evil man, to the world and his own people, so America is justified to invade Iraq. If America spies on their allies and foes alike in the name of terrorism, well that is perfectly fine, because they are snopping for terrorists and trying to protect Americans.

      On the other hand, if other countries do the same then this is unethical, immoral, unlawful, disrepectful, etc, isn't it time for America to wake up and acknowledge that their actions are creating alot of enemies in this world, ever wonder why all their enemies are constantly finding ways to hit back at America? Why can't America for once understand the meaning of the word humility and act out to be one and make friends rather than enemies, isn't this strategy a lot better, than constantly watching over your shoulders to see if anyone is after to get you.

      July 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  10. worldsavior

    China is a good stable peaceful country. The chinese people have always behaved calm and wise its amazing. We who have democracy is shouting and screaming and fingerpointing while the chinese who have dictatorship have neutral position in everything in the world. Always when conflict happens they always make statements that is neutral.

    July 9, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
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