At around noon of August 2, Ambassador Qin Gang took an interview with John King of CNN “Inside Politics”, expressing China’s stern position on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan region. Here is the transcript:
John King: Ambassador, I’m grateful for your time at this important moment. The Speaker is in Taiwan, as you well know. China said don't go, and she is there now. But the White House says this should not be a big deal. Newt Gingrich as the Speaker visited it 25 years ago. Why? Why is it that the Foreign Ministry of China says that it will definitely take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the US Speaker’s visit. You just heard our correspondent say there will be overnight military exercises. The Biden’s White House says that China here is making this a big deal, why?
Ambassador Qin Gang: Firstly, on Speaker Pelosi’s visit to China's Taiwan region, the Chinese side has repeatedly expressed its firm and strong position to the US side at various levels through different channels. The Speaker's visit is a major event upgrading the substantive relations between the US and Taiwan, and sends a very wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. It is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions in the three Sino-US joint communiques. It deals a serious blow to the political foundation of China-US relations, seriously infringes on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is a reckless, provocative move.
John King: Let me jump in for one second. I don't want to make this contentious. That is the position of your government, but she says she is there in honor of the Taiwan Relations Act. I understand how difficult this is, but Taiwan has a democratically elected government. Speaker Pelosi says it is very important at this time in the world for her, as the top woman in the United States government, the Number three person in the US government, to show its support. China could have just said “let it go”, played it down, ignored it. Instead, the White House would say that China is looking for provocation here.
Ambassador Qin Gang: The Taiwan question is not about democracy. It's about China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the aspiration of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people to achieve the reunification of China. And it is the unbending will of the whole Chinese nation to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Nancy Pelosi is not a person in the street. As you mentioned, she, as the Speaker, is the Number three in the US government. Her visit, in whatever form, at whatever time during her tenure, carries high political sensitivities, and it will result in the escalation of the tension across the Taiwan Strait and escalation of the tension in the US-China relations. So we firmly and strongly condemn and protest against it.
You mentioned that this is not the first time of the Speaker’s visit to Taiwan. Let me say this, 25 years ago Speaker Gingrich visited Taiwan. It was completely wrong. The Chinese side was firmly opposed to it from the start. The US side should draw a lesson from it, instead of making repeated mistakes, and one mistake cannot justify the following mistakes in the same nature.
John King: Well, Speaker Pelosi says that you have to look around the world, and she sees Russia's invasion of Ukraine. She sees China violating its agreement with Hong Kong about the “one government, two systems”. And she says, therefore, it’s extra more important at this point for the United States to publicly make clear it stands with the people of Taiwan and its democratically elected government. Your government objects, you just condemned it. And what will they do about it is the big question. Are these military exercises designed to frighten Taiwan? Will there be a break in relations and any sanctions? And what would happen in the US-China relationship?
Ambassador Qin Gang: People should not confuse the Taiwan question with the Ukraine conflict. On the question of Taiwan, it concerns China's core interests. Some people here in the United States, on the issue of Ukraine, they emphasize national sovereignty and territory activity, but why they do whatever they want to damage China's core interests, infringe on China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is a play of double standards. So we firmly reject that. China has every right to defend its sovereignty and territory integrity. We are fully justified to do what we must. The current situation is created purely by the US side, so of course it has to bear the responsibilities.
John King: People can have different opinions about who's responsible for the moment. We are at this moment. As Will Ripley (CNN correspondent) says, the Chinese government has announced these overnight military exercises. Again, that is a risk of miscalculation and provocation, is it not? Is the government of China, President Xi Jinping, is he so determined to get Taiwan? And if necessary, he will take it by force?
Ambassador Qin Gang: To achieve reunification, as I said earlier, is the firm and strong will of the whole Chinese nation. China's sovereignty cannot be infringed, Chinese people cannot be humiliated, and the reunification of China cannot be stopped. We said it repeatedly in recent time that the PLA will not stay idle, and the duty of PLA, China's military, is to defend China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We will take whatever we can to respond to and to protect, to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity, and our response will be very firm, strong and forceful.
John King: Firm, strong and forceful, those are strong word. Mr. Ambassador, I’m grateful for your time today. We will watch how this plays out. I hope you can stay in touch with us in the days ahead as this plays out. I appreciate your time today. We are sort of, obviously, in disagreement about something, but I appreciate your time.
Ambassador Qin Gang: Thank you for having me.
John King: Thank you, sir.