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'No one can contain China': Chinese envoy on US selling high-tech military equipment to India

"I don't think that the sales of advanced arms would really serve that purpose," Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said.

Reported by: PTI, Washington [ Published on: October 31, 2017 7:14 IST ]
File photo of PM Narendra Modi with US president Donald Trump.

The Chinese envoy to the US on Monday said that no one could "contain" China now, expressing his displeasure over the formation of an "exclusive club" in the Indo-Pacific region.

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai was responding to questions on the recent India-centric policy speech by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the decision of the Trump administration to sell to India high-tech military equipment, including state-of-the-art armed drones, and the Japanese proposal of a strategic quadrilateral dialogue involving India and Australia.

"I don't think that the sales of advanced arms would really serve that purpose," Cui said.

Political analysts in the west have described the sale of arms to India as a US move to contain China.

"By the way I don't think anybody would be able to contain China," the Chinese Ambassador asserted in his rare press conference at the Embassy of China here.

The top diplomat was addressing media ahead of US President Donald Trump's visit to China early next month. Trump is scheduled to embark on a 10-day visit to China. He would also visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Cui said China is "open to cooperation among the regional countries" for stability and prosperity.

The relationship between China and India "have been developing quite steadily over the years".

Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said, has always said that Pacific Ocean is large enough to accommodate that development both of China and the US, and the Asia-Pacific region is big enough to accommodate the development of China, India and Japan.

"In this regard I hope all parties will do things conducive to better relations, better mutual trust," he said. Without mentioning the recent stand-off between India and China, Cui said he does not think that "confrontation" is in the interest of either of the two countries.

"I'm quite confident that both countries have a clear recognition of what will serve their respective interests best," he said, responding to a question on India and the move to have a strategic dialogue involving four countries  - India, Japan, US and Australia.

Any relationship between any two countries in the region, between any regional country and another country outside of the region should not be a zero sum game, he said when asked about the strengthening of India US relationship, which many say is aimed at China.

"Good relations between China and the US is not at the expense of any other country. The same should be true for relations between US and India and Japan and India," he said.

It is not in the interest of these countries if their aim is to sort of "contain" China, the top Chinese diplomat said.

Cui said all the regional countries in the Indo-Pacific have shared interests in greater stability, peace and better prospects for prosperity.

In order to achieve that regional countries have to work together and have to promote closer cooperation among them and maybe establish appropriate regional mechanisms, he said.

As such, China is open to cooperation with all its neighbours so that Asia-Pacific will continue to be a peaceful, stable and prosperous region.

"We are following developments in the region very closely and hopefully other countries will have the same approach as we have," he said.

No evidence of China trying to dominate region: Chinese envoy

A top Chinese diplomat has said that people accusing China of indulging in "predatory economics" should "look into the mirror", underlining that there is no evidence of China trying to dominate the region. Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai was responding to a question on the recent remarks by top American officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who accused China of indulging in predatory economics and causing unsustainable debt to the countries in the region.

Because of recent Chinese actions, several countries in the region have expressed concern over the increasing Chinese assertiveness, an allegation denied by the top Chinese diplomat.

"I think when people are saying these things (predatory economics) about China they might just look into the mirror. It might be describing themselves," Cui said ahead of the US President Donald Trump's visit to China early next month. "We want to have a peaceful, stable and prosperous neighbourhood. And we always aimed at...we would take our neighbours our good partners and we will proceed in good faith. This has been proved by the history of China's foreign policy," Cui said.

He said there is no evidence that China is trying to dominate the region.

"We never believe that any single country should try to dominate a region or even the world," he said, adding that China wants to build a community with shared future of the mankind. "We are still looking forward to a good partnership with our neighbours. Of course, we want to establish very constructive relations with the US. We (China and the US) do not have a zero-sum game in Asia Pacific. We recognise the interest of the US in Asia Pacific and we want to cooperate with the United States. Hopefully this will be reciprocated by the US as well," he said.

Cui said there is an ongoing discussion between China and the US on improving market access and addressing the trade imbalance. The general direction should be clear that the two countries should aim at mutually beneficial economic relations.

"We certainly want to achieve more balance of trade. This will have to be done over time. You cannot reduce trade deficit overnight," he added. The balance of trade payment, he said, is a structural problem. "It's not it's not caused by somebody's policy. The main reason for this trade imbalance is the different position of China and the US is the global production chain and the international division of labour and the so-called comparative advantage," he said.

The goal, he said, is to achieve more balanced and mutually beneficial bilateral trade.

According to the Chinese Ambassador, Trump's visit to China is the most important part of his Asia's visit. Trump would also visit Japan, South Korea, China, the Philippines and Vietnam.

"Hopefully it will be the most productive and constructive (visit)," he said.

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