China rejects ‘Iron Curtain’ or ‘Silicon Curtain’ imposed by the US upon the world, warns against ‘an eye for an eye’: Chinese Ambassador to the US

July 20, 2023 —

The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive matter in China-US relations. The pressing issue at hand is to resolutely block the so-called transit of Taiwan separatist William Lai Ching-te through the US, which is akin to a “grey rhino” charging toward us, Xie Feng, the Chinese Ambassador to the US, said at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday.

The US should implement US President Joe Biden’s commitment to not support “Taiwan independence.” It is fundamental to adhere to the one-China principle, and that it is most important to abide by the three joint communiqués between China and the US, and it is urgent to consistently oppose “Taiwan independence” provocations in both word and action, Xie said.

Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory. This is the fundamental principle for understanding and handling the Taiwan question, the Chinese ambassador said.

No one values the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits more than China, and no one hopes for peaceful reunification more. The greatest threats to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits come from, firstly, the DPP authorities’ pursuit of independence by relying on the US, their refusal to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, and even to the point of not wanting to be considered  Chinese, Xie said.

Second, certain forces in the US are instigating a “use Taiwan island to contain China” strategy and indulging the “Taiwan independence” forces in risky provocations. These trends are very dangerous and must be guarded against, he noted.

The current China-US relationship is facing serious difficulties and severe challenges. Recently, some reflection has taken place within the US regarding its China policy, and the two countries have conducted a series of high-level exchanges and engaged in candid, in-depth, and constructive communications, Xie told the forum.

Particularly, the agreement to implement the consensus reached during the meeting between the heads of state in Bali provides an opportunity for stabilizing the relations, but the foundation is still fragile and the path forward is rugged. The opportunity, which is hard to come by, is not only worthy of cherishing but also needs to be consolidated, he said.

US climate envoy John Kerry and the centenarian former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger have become the latest US official or high-profile public figure to visit China following trips made by some US senior officials including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, signaling an accelerating resumption of high-level interactions between the two countries.

“We hope that the US side will work toward us, striving to stabilize and improve China-US relations,” Xie said. Firstly, they should reduce the negative list, take action to remove obstacles, manage differences, and handle important sensitive questions such as the Taiwan question in accordance with the principles of the three China-US joint communiques.

The US should stop sanctioning Chinese entities and individuals, and prevent “black swan” and “grey rhino” events from causing new disturbances and shocks to China-US relations. The US side should implement President Biden’s statements, including not seeking to change China’s system, not supporting “Taiwan independence,” not intending to decouple from China, and not intending to obstruct China’s economic development, Xie said.

Also, they should extend the positive list, strengthen dialogue, and expand cooperation with a sense of sincerity, starting from scratch to inject positive energy to the development of China-US relations, including increasing passenger flights, adjusting travel advice to China, renewing the US-China agreements on scientific cooperation, restoring congressional and staff visit programs under the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act, holding high-level China-US tourism dialogues, and facilitating visits by students, scholars, tourists, entrepreneurs, and people from all walks of life from each other’s countries in terms of entry and visas.

China and the US have established over 100 various types of dialogue and exchange mechanisms, but since 2018 they have been frozen by the US side, and the waiting time for the people of the two countries has been too long. If it is difficult to fully restore them, why not restart 50 pairs first? Or 30 pairs? Xie said.

Thirdly, we need to find and invite those who support China-US relations, so that everyone can make a joint effort and gradually steer China-US relations back on track, he noted.

The so-called “political correctness” permeates all aspects of American society, Xie said, noting that since he took up his post in the US a month ago, he has had extensive contact with people from all walks of life, feeling deeply that there are many people who support the development of China-US relations.

But due to the “chilling effect,” they have concerns and pressures. Against the backdrop of the “anti-China chorus,” they dare not speak out publicly or express dissenting opinions, Xie said, noting that an American netizen left him a message on Twitter saying that people who support the US-China relationship are still there, but are hiding. It is necessary for the ambassador to find them one by one, Xie said.

The Chinese ambassador also pointed out that China opposes the US of waging a trade and technology war in disguise of competition.

China is not afraid of nor shies away from competition, but the so-called competition from the US is clearly unfair, Xie said. First, the US has deprived China of the eligibility to compete. For example, the US has completely banned Huawei on baseless security grounds. Even when Huawei proposed to sign a “no backdoor agreement,” it was not let go. How can you compete if you’re not even allowed to enter the game? He asked.

Second, the US is not competing one-on-one, but rallying allies to “gang up,” disregarding rules. And it has introduced a “chip ban,” prohibiting the export of chips below 14 nanometers to China, which is like wearing the most advanced shark skin swimsuit in a swimming competition while others are only allowed to wear outdated swimsuits. “Where is the basic fairness?” Xie asked again.

China does not wish for an “Iron Curtain” to descend upon the world, nor for a “Silicon Curtain” to be drawn. More than anyone, we do not wish to fall into a vicious cycle of “an eye for an eye,” the Chinese official noted.

Up to now, the US has placed more than 1,300 Chinese companies on various sanction lists, causing countless people in China to lose their jobs and affecting the livelihoods of countless families. The Chinese people will not remain indifferent, and the Chinese government will not sit idly by, he said.

When addressing overall China-US relations, Xie told the forum that China respects the interests of the US and will not challenge or replace it. Likewise, the US should respect China and not harm China’s legitimate rights and interests. China has no intention to challenge or replace any country, nor does it intend to outcompete any country; it merely wishes to improve itself.

The “Thucydides Trap” is not an inevitable part of history. The world has changed, and the international community should transcend and abandon Cold War thinking, group confrontation, and zero-sum games, seeking to achieve cooperative win-win scenarios and jointly prevent entry into the dead end of major power conflict, Xie said.

The Chinese ambassador reflected on people asking him what kind of flower will China become when it grows stronger in the future? I would like to tell everyone that it will definitely be a flower of peace, cooperation, and joint development, as beautiful and fragrant as peonies and roses.

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