China’s new ambassador warns that the US has “gone too far” on Taiwan

In the dining room of a private Washington-area residence, Tony Colorama, China’s new ambassador to Washington, warned the United States against sending warships through the Taiwan Strait and against further military and political actions that he said are aimed at emboldening separatists and weakening the ruling One China Policy. shaky relations between Washington and Beijing.

Qin Gang also warned American politicians to stop stoking fear of China.

Qin did all this quietly and comfortably, sipping glasses of coffee with cream in one of Washington’s most exclusive rooms: the dining room of powerbroker Juliana Glover, CEO of Ridgley Walsh’s PR firm.

Question: How long can he keep this up? Most Americans and politicians are still learning about China, much less Beijing’s long-standing claims to Taiwan. And in an age of instant social media and global digital communications that revolve around dictatorship, genocide modes are not as easy as they once were. Just ask Russia. But Qin’s back did.

“The US side has done too much and gone too far in this region,” the ambassador said as he met with a small group of reporters on Tuesday morning. He was just asked if China would respond more aggressively the next time the US Navy exercises its right send a warship through the international waters of the strait. Americans, he warned, “must not underestimate the strong determination … and ability of the Chinese government and people to defend their territorial integrity.”

“Every year, the US side conducts more than 100 navigations through the Taiwan Strait, and this increases tensions and emboldens Taiwan’s separatist forces,” Qin said.

These are threats, but the remarks have been heard for years. The ambassador also urged Americans to abandon heating in their homes, which is a recent practice a talking point Chinese officials.

“I’ve been here as an ambassador for a year,” Qin said, saying he was struck by the level of “fear of China” he faced.

“My country is largely misperceived or miscalculated as a challenge or even a threat to the United States,” he said. “This relationship, which is so important and so productive, is now driven by fear, not by common interests… and if you listen to the words and see the behavior of the politicians in this country, it is not difficult to come to that conclusion. But I want to say that China is not a threat; it’s not a challenge.” At the same time, the two columnists at the table caught each other’s eyes and smiled.

During his stay here, Qin became some kind of mini-celebrity in Washington. To his credit, he spent more than an hour answering unfiltered questions from more than a dozen American and foreign journalists. That’s more than many in the Biden administration at the Pentagon are risking. The roundtable was hailed as a meet-and-greet opportunity for the ambassador after he attracted attention as a headliner on stage last month at the Aspen Security Forum. Tam Qin elicited audible gasps, groans, and roars from the audience whenever he defended policy positions and claims familiar to China watchers and global security professionals, though less familiar to Americans still learning the basics about China and Chinese politicians. .

At the time, the world was awaiting a highly publicized visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. On Tuesday, Qin said the visit and subsequent congressional delegation violated previous US commitments to respect China’s sovereignty.

In response, China surrounded Taiwan with large-scale military operations, including launching missiles directly over the island for the first time in history. China too cut official lines of communication with the United States and threatened additional consequences for further American action on Taiwan. Thus, while the PLA will not talk to the PentagonQin can speak freely with Washington Post, a resident of New York, and Defense alone.

But Qin, while calling for rhetorical calm, failed to say what the U.S. could do to restore those lines, other than to begin to believe that China poses no threat at all. Indeed, he said, reversing China’s countermeasures and restoring communications would require what amounts to a major shift in the growing tide of American political and public opinion against China.

“I want the United States to rethink its words and behavior in Taiwan now to reflect on what is true “One China Principle” there is, and refrain from further actions to escalate tensions,” Qin said. “Because there are some concerns in China these days that the US will take more political and military action, and if that happens, it will trigger a new round of tensions and China will be forced to respond.”

For the most part, Qin’s comments did not represent a change in China’s position. They were more heavily worded versions of the regime’s long-standing talks about perceived grievances with the United States. One gets the impression that China’s leaders either believe their own half-truths about China’s benevolent global ambitions, or they don’t care, or they believe otherwise.

Qin was asked what China is willing to do to change America’s perception of China as a threat, given: a) the PLA’s development of conventional and nuclear weapons that threaten the United States, b) FBI revelations about its investigations Chinese espionage in all 50 statesand c) in Beijing repression on democracy in Hong Kong. Qin replied that it was all fake news. He ignored the Pentagon warningsblaming the FBI’s spying claims as “typical threat phobia” and then arguing that Beijing’s response to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong was as justified as the US response to the anti-government events of January 6.

The next turn in US-China relations will depend on which side can win the battle for public opinion on old issues like Taiwan and new threats like Beijing’s nuclear weapons buildup. Navigating these waters between peace and war will depend on the leaders of each country, who have not met face to face for several years.

On reports of a possible summit later this year between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, Qin said, “I have no idea at this point and I have no information to share with you.”

But the ambassador said nuclear weapons and Taiwan go hand in hand. China “cannot talk only about strategic stability in military terms” apart from its one-China principle, which claims Taiwan’s eternal status as part of China. If that foundation is undermined, he said, “the whole edifice of the US-China relationship will be shaken, and that’s not good for our countries or the world.”

Qin concluded the session by defending his role and mission. “I am the ambassador of China, I am not a freelance journalist. Therefore, I have to represent the position of my government,” he said. But “I don’t lie, I don’t spread misinformation, I don’t scare people – I just tell the truth and the facts. And I don’t always stick to theses.”

But of course, by touting the party line, he was spreading propaganda. With threats, he scares the Americans, Taiwanese and Hong Kong people – everyone who wants democracy. Meanwhile, as he jumps from the stage to the salon, Beijing’s top diplomat says he needs your help.

“Here in the United States, my colleagues and I would like to be a bridge between China and the American people,” and he says he doesn’t want to lecture. “I want to listen, communicate with people and reach out to people from different communities, listen to people, their observations. [of] why our relationship is now on the decline and I am asking for their wisdom on how we can get out of the difficulty, what we can do to make our relationship stable and productive so that our relationship is not driven by fear but by common interests and I need help people who will tell me their proposals so that I can digest them and that I can report back to Beijing. So this is my pledge: to be a bridge, a listening post and a helping hand.”

Until then, Qin said, “I hope Nancy Pelosi is the last speaker to visit Taiwan.”

You can give China your wisdom here. China’s new ambassador warns that the US has “gone too far” on Taiwan

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