On August 16, Ambassador Qin Gang took a joint interview of the US mainstream media in Washington DC, including Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Hill, POLITICO, Axios, Defense One, and he answered questions on China-US relations, the Taiwan question, Hong Kong-related issues, and China’s diplomacy. The transcript of the interview is as follows:
Josh Rogin (The Washington Post): Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for taking time today. Recently, your counterpart in Paris, Chinese ambassador in France, said on two separate occasions that the Chinese government was planning for reeducation of the Taiwanese people after reunification. Can you explain to us what that means? What does that look like? Is the reeducation modeled after Hong Kong? Or is it modeled after Xinjiang? Is it modeled after Tibet? What kind of reeducation are you planning after reunification?
Ambassador Qin Gang: I don't know under what circumstances and in what context our Ambassador said this. But my personal understanding is that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese and the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China. We need to reinforce the identity, our national identity. So I think this is what he really means, but I can't speak for him.
Josh Rogin: A quick follow up. You mentioned that in your op-ed in The Washington Post that published it that peaceful reunification is the preference, and that seems to me that you need to persuade the Taiwanese people to join back with China voluntarily. How's that going? How goes your efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people? You think it’s working?
Ambassador Qin Gang: As a matter of fact, over the past years the mainland has done many things to promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. We have shown our goodwill. Taiwan is a small place. Its market is limited, and there's not big room for Taiwan to develop its economy and livelihood. The future of Taiwan depends on the reunification with the mainland, and over the past decades, we’ve done so much. For example, there are one million Taiwan people living on the mainland. They are happy. They are doing their business, and they are opening their factories. They are studying on the mainland. Over the past years, the trade volume has doubled to more than $320 billion. Taiwan enjoyed $170 billion in surplus. The mainland is the largest trading partner and the largest source of trade surplus for Taiwan, and we have very frequent travel across the Taiwan Strait. I think that helps the understanding, mutual understanding.
Josh Rogin: So why do you think that the Taiwanese people overwhelmingly say they don't want to join the mainland?
Ambassador Qin Gang: We try to achieve peaceful reunification. It is our wish, because we believe that serves interests of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. People on both sides are compatriots. The last thing we do is fight with our compatriots. We will make our utmost efforts and show the greatest sincerity to achieve peaceful reunification. The reason for us not to renounce non-peaceful means for reunification is not targeting at the Chinese people in Taiwan. It is to deter a small number of separatist forces and to deter foreign intervention. For the arrangements after the reunification, we have proposed the philosophy of “One Country, Two Systems”. This is the best design for Taiwan. “One Country, Two Systems” was first put forward to resolve the Taiwan question. We believe it has fully considered Taiwan's realities, and it's conducive to Taiwan's long-term stability and prosperity. As for how to deliver it, we will take suggestions from people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and fully accommodate the interests, sentiments of our brothers and sisters in Taiwan. “One Country, Two Systems” is still the most inclusive solution to resolve the Taiwan question. It’s a peaceful, democratic and win-win solution that shows our goodwill. Different political systems are not an obstacle to reunification and they are not a pretext to separate Taiwan from China. So we believe that as the Chinese nation realizes reunification, there will be greater room and possibilities for the implementation of the Taiwan solution of “two systems”.
Steve Clemons (The Hill): Ambassador, if I may, you have said very specifically that the US said that you're looking at Pelosi trip as an excuse for China to set a new normal, basically saying that China was escalating the situation. One of the features that I saw in this was that a lot in the administration have serious reservations about Nancy Pelosi’s trip. We actually saw they were divided within the administration. So who in the administration is actually telling you that China is using this pretext to change the status quo?
Ambassador Qin Gang: It's not a secret to us. Last Friday I think, a senior official of the National Security Council did a press briefing, blaming China for escalating the situation and using the visit as a pretext.
Steve Clemons: So it’s Kurt Campbell.
Ambassador Qin Gang: It’s on the record. It’s recorded in the media.
Phelim Kine (POLITICO): Mr. Ambassador, a quick question, we've seen (inaudible) of the United States, in Missouri and Pennsylvania and other places, where the idea of China threat is a big part of the political rhetoric, political discourse. It seems pretty likely that the fallout in this country from the PLA's response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is gonna accentuate that. And I guess my question to you is, are you concerned that we're going to see this idea of China threat being part of midterm election rhetoric? I wonder, do you have a message to US lawmakers and to US voters about how they should be seeing China? Thank you.
Ambassador Qin Gang: I’ve been here as the ambassador for a year. And I have found that I’m in an environment of “threat-phobia”. My country is being greatly mis-perceived and miscalculated as a challenge or even a threat to the United States, as you mentioned just now. And this relationship, which is so important and so consequential, is now being driven by fear, not by common interests and common responsibilities. If you listen to the words and see the behaviors of the politicians in this country, it's not difficult to draw this conclusion. But I want to say that China is not a threat, it's not a challenge. China’s development intention is just to get a better life for its people. We have no intention to replace the United States and to destroy the United States. We just want our people to lead a happy life. We need a peaceful and cooperative external environment, including, particularly, our relations with the United States, so that we can focus on our domestic construction. But sadly, our intention is misunderstood. So I do hope that people can get rid of the “threat-phobia” and not blame China for everything, every problem of this country. China and the United States are different. China cannot change the United States. The United States cannot change China. We have differences. But differences cannot justify groundless blames and crazy, unreasonable words and deeds. And we should not let differences and disagreements stand at the center of the stage of our relations. We should not let them define our relations. If people handle this relationship out of fear of China, it will cause tensions, tensions after tensions. It will put our relations on a wrong track, and very dangerously lead our relations to the course or direction of conflict and confrontation.
Mary Louise Kelly (NPR): There's been a lot of conversations in Washington over what lessons China is taking from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And I wonder if you would answer that. What are you learning as you watch the war unfolding in Ukraine? Do you see parallels? Do you see differences?
Ambassador Qin Gang: I don't know what lessons the United States should take from the Ukraine crisis. China is not a party in the crisis, not in history, not in reality. Everybody knows the root cause of the crisis. This is not between China and Ukraine. China is not NATO. Why this crisis happened? There are historical complexities and realistic considerations. What Russia wants cannot be given by China. China is a force for peace. At the very beginning of the crisis, China calls for peace, for ceasefire, for political solution through diplomatic consultations. And we don't send weapons, ammunitions. What China has sent to Ukraine are sleeping bags, medicine, humanitarian aid. So if there's any lesson to be drawn by the United States, by NATO, or by other parties involved, maybe that is how to achieve security. A country cannot build its security at the cost of other countries. And all countries’ legitimate security concerns have to be taken into considerations. It's not a zero-sum game, and Cold-War mentality is not a solution to security issues in modern world.
That's why President Xi Jinping has proposed the Global Security Initiative, calling for all countries to join hands in building up a security which is common, comprehensive, shared and sustainable. I do hope that sooner or later the parties concerned in the crisis will come to the negotiation table to find a way out of the current difficulty, so that people can negotiate a future framework of the security.
David Ignatius (The Washington Post): Mr. Ambassador, I'd like to ask you about strategic stability between the United States and China. You spoke in Aspen, I remember, about the importance of stability between the two countries. President Biden, last November in his phone call with President Xi, proposed that there be talks about strategic stability between these two nuclear powers. But so far as I know, those talks have not proceeded to any meaningful level despite your comments in Aspen and other Chinese comments. So a question at a time when the tensions between the US and China are so obviously high and dangerous over Taiwan: Is China ready for these conversations? And do you expect that President Xi and President Biden may meet together this year for discussion of this and other issues?
Ambassador Qin Gang: First of all, on the possible summit between the Presidents, I have no idea at the moment. I have no information to share with you on this. And on strategic stability, of course China values a stable relationship with the US, and we also believe that as members of P5, China and the United States share common responsibility for world peace and stability. We want to have communication and dialogue with the US side on this. But our understanding of strategic stability is not only about the military. It's not only on military terms. Actually it’s about political foundation. It’s like a house. For this house to be firm and stable, we need a solid foundation. The same theory applies to state-to-state relations. So what is the foundation of China-US relations? That is the one-China principle. That is the stipulations of the three joint communiques. We cannot talk about strategic stability without paying attention to the political foundation of our bilateral relations. If the political foundation, particularly the one-China principle is eroded, undermined, the whole building of China-US relations will be shaken, and it's not good for our two countries and not good for the world.
Paul Beckett (The Wall Street Journal): (inaudible) Some cooperation between the two countries has suspended after Pelosi’s visit, such as on climate. What do you want to see the United States do to resume cooperation?
Ambassador Qin Gang: About climate change?
Paul Beckett: Any of the places that are frozen, what do you want to see for change?
Ambassador Qin Gang: We are taking countermeasures. They shouldn't be surprised. Because before the visit, we warned the US side time and again that if she goes, it will have serious consequences on our exchanges and cooperation between our two countries. So it happened. And we mean what we say. We suspended dialogue, communication and cooperation on some subjects, in some areas, including climate. Now the US said that, by suspending the climate dialogue, China is punishing the world. but the question is, does the United States represent the world?
Paul Beckett: But what do you want to see in order to resume?
Ambassador Qin Gang: To resume, I want to see the United States at the moment to think about its own behavior on Taiwan, to reflect on what the true one-China principle is, and to refrain from doing anything more to escalate the tension, because there are some worries around these days in China that the US will take more actions, politically, militarily. If they happen, it will cause a new round of tensions and China will be forced to react.
Paul Beckett: How do you view the subsequent congressional delegation?
Ambassador Qin Gang: We object to it from the very beginning. Over the past decades, China has opposed congressional visits to Taiwan, because we believe that they are in violation of the one-China principle and the three joint communiques. They violate the commitment of the United States of not developing official relations with Taiwan. Congress is part of the government of the US. It's not an independent, uncontrollable branch. It’s obliged to abide by the foreign policy of the United States. So that's why we object to and are very dissatisfied with Senator Markey’s visit to Taiwan. It’s provocative and unhelpful.
Ellen Knickmeyer (AP): The US says it's going to send warships through the Taiwan Strait, as part of what (inaudible) in the area routinely. Is that a provocation? What’s China's response to that?
Ambassador Qin Gang: The US side has done too much and gone too far in this region. Since 2012, the US side has had more than 100 navigations through the Taiwan Strait, intensifying the tension and emboldening “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. As you have mentioned earlier, we have noted what the US military said these days, that they would have a military exercise or navigation again. But I do call on American colleagues to exercise restraint, not to do anything to escalate the tension. So if there's any move damaging China's territorial integrity and sovereignty, China will respond.
Kevin Baron (Defense One): You talked a lot about what you want the United States to do to reduce tensions. But can you talk a little bit about what China is going to do to change perceptions here as you mentioned earlier? You see the fear of China ramping up in the political discourse. In fact (inaudible) FBI Director Christopher Wray says in all 50 states, there are active espionage cases against the Chinese, with all sorts of spying and industrial espionage. And as you mentioned in the political sphere, there is a little battle over what Americans should think about China, whether you can do business with China, in what direction people are supposed to go. What's China going to do to convince more Americans that they are not a threat, and they should not feel a threat, by all of these different, these rhetorics that Americans are hearing from their own security officials and their own security news, and what they're seeing in places like Hong Kong where China has removed or forcibly ended democracy and imposed its own system or what it wants?
Ambassador Qin Gang: You mentioned the Director of FBI’s allegations that China is doing espionage. This is a typical presentation of the fear of China. Espionage activities of China in 50 states — do you believe it? Do you have any evidence or proofs? You should not mistake normal exchanges and interactions as spying. This is a typical threat-phobia. It scares people, scares Chinese people, young people. It scares Chinese communities, and also scares American people doing business and having people-to-people exchanges. It’s ideologically driven.
You asked the question of Hong Kong. Let me say a few more words. The turbulence in Hong Kong was not caused by any problem with “One Country, Two Systems”. It was caused by some anti-China forces, who used “human rights” and “democracy” as a pretext, to manipulate the concept of “One Country, Two Systems” and undermine Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.
Hong Kong’s turbulence was a struggle between secession and anti-secession. Those anti-China forces instigated chaos in Hong Kong, with the support of external forces, to create trouble for China. They asked for “two systems” without the “one country”. Some people even held high the Union Jack, or the Stars and Stripes in Hong Kong, chanting “two countries, two systems”, and demanding “Hong Kong independence” or return to British colonial rule. Under such circumstances, China’s central government had to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests, and safeguard Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity.
Hong Kong’s turbulence was a battle between violence and anti-violence, between law violation and law enforcement. Since the turbulence over proposed legislative amendments in 2019, Hong Kong experienced serious violence, vandalism, arson, traffic obstruction, attacks of police and assault on citizens. Some extremists even stormed the building of Hong Kong Legislative Council. The damage and danger they caused far exceeded the January 6 incident. They seriously jeopardized Hong Kong’s security, stability, economy, democracy and even people’s lives. You can search for videos of their violent activities on Youtube. You will know that this is never about democracy. This is never a “beautiful sight to behold”, as Nancy Pelosi called it. Their activities are absolutely crimes. They are violence. The US is doing a reckoning over the January 6 incident. Likewise, Hong Kong will not allow such violent crimes.
Facing the turbulences in 2019, China’s central government has decisively introduced the Hong Kong national security law, improved the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and adopted the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”. We have taken a host of measures to uphold and improve the “One Country, Two Systems”. As a result, Hong Kong has realized a major shift from chaos to stability. The “One Country, Two Systems” has returned to the right track.
Let me emphasize this. Such a shift has proved that “one country” is the premise and basis of the “two systems”, and the “two systems” are subordinate to and derived from “one country.” Doubts of “One Country, Two Systems” are short-sighted. It’s too early to say that. Those doomsayings about “One Country, Two Systems” are doomed to fail. We believe that with “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong will enter a new era, with vigorous economic and social development and sound governance. I just read a figure, a result of a poll that the American business people's confidence in Hong Kong grew by 18% this year compared to last year.
Iain Marlow (Bloomberg): I was actually previously based in Hong Kong until Christmas, and I saw some of my Bloomberg colleagues this morning saying that banks in Hong Kong are now offering hardship money to people to encourage them to move to Hong Kong, because no one wants to come anymore, because of zero-Covid policies. And I was wondering if you could describe a little bit about your vision or how long these measures are gonna be in place. And I'm not talking just about Hong Kong, but in China. We've seen Condoleezza Rice at the Aspen Forum sort of mock the zero-Covid policy and, in terms of it, beginning to hit at China's political reputation, saying that no one wants to replicate China anymore because of these sorts of restrictions that you put on people. I'm wondering if you could give a sense of how long you see these measures being in place and whether you view them as having any negative impact on China's standing in the world or China's integration with other countries, whether that's in Asia or across the world?
Ambassador Qin Gang: I don't understand for what reason Condoleezza Rice mocked China's approach to tackle Covid. This country has the world record of the highest number of infections, the highest number of deaths. Why she mocked China? Given China's size and population, our work on Covid has been successful and great. You're seeing the number of deaths and infections which are pretty small and seeing that China's economy coming back, experiencing very strong recovery. This is because China puts people in the center of its governance, and the Communist Party of China implements its mission, which is to serve the people wholeheartedly during their efforts to confront Covid. We call our approach as the “dynamic zero-Covid” policy. It's dynamic and it's not rigid. We readjust our policy according to circumstances, particularly the degree of the spread of Covid. It protected people, it protected China's economy, and it protected the global supply and industrial chains. If China suffers severely from Covid, think about the consequences. China is still manufacturing and providing a variety of products to countries around the world, including the United States, at this difficult time. Of course like in all the countries, Covid has caused great difficulties to traveling and to people's lives. It’s understandable. China is no exception. So we hope that the situation of Covid will get relaxed sooner, so that people can enjoy their normal life, economic activities can be brought back and traveling can be restored, which is so important at this moment, because we have tensions between our two countries and we need more interactions, so that people can have correct mutual understanding.
Evan Osnos (The New Yorker): Can I have a question of the Taiwan issue again, about the timeline? President Xi Jinping has said this is not an issue that we passed from generation to generation. I'm curious if the events of the last year or two, the conditions in the US-China relationship or more broadly in the world have accelerated that timeline in any way? There was a report recently that some in the US assessed that it may have accelerated China's timeline for reunification. I'm curious if that's the fact.
Ambassador Qin Gang: I don't know if there is any specific time, but I do know there is a will. There's a prospect for peace reunification. There’s a will of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people for reunification. As what we said in the just published White Paper on the question of Taiwan, the question of Taiwan was caused because of a weak and chaotic China, and must be resolved in the course of national rejuvenation. This is a prospect. And I don't know if there is a timeline. I think that people are over-nervous about it. And there are lots of speculations on that, which I have found baseless.
Evan Osnos: I have to follow up just briefly on that. In the event of reunification, how does China anticipate the international reaction to unfold? You expect that the international community would embrace this development or reject this development? And are you prepared to handle the consequences?
Ambassador Qin Gang: You mean the consequences for what?
Evan Osnos: If for instance, the rest of the world isolating China or international businesses respond by withdrawing there?
Ambassador Qin Gang: Why they want to isolate China?
Josh Rogin: If you attack them.
Ambassador Qin Gang: There's no such a presumption. In the first place, Taiwan is a part of China. The question of Taiwan is a purely internal affair of China, which brooks no foreign intervention. Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, the mainland will pay the utmost efforts in great sincerity to achieve peaceful reunification. they use non-peaceful means only under the circumstances that Taiwan declares independence by a handful of separatist forces and the intervention of foreign forces. Whatever happens, this is purely an internal affair. You mentioned the international community. Let me say this, there are 181 countries having diplomatic relations with China based on the one-China principle. The overwhelming majority of the international community are supportive and accept the one-China policy. On Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, more than 170 countries (and international organizations) have voiced support for the one-China principle. They take 80% of global population. China has followed international law and basic norms governing international relations. Why countries criticize or isolate China because of an internal affair of China? So I didn't find any legal and practical basis for that.
Michael Martina (Reuters): I can follow up on the notion of the US transits of the Taiwan strait. We have every expectation to believe that US will continue to sell weapons to Taiwan as well, in the near future. You said that China will respond to that, as in the past years of actions. But in this post-Pelosi sort of world, we expect that China will take stronger and more aggressive response to these actions than it has going back years.
Ambassador Qin Gang: In the past years, the United States has sold many weapons to Taiwan which is in violation of the commitments in the three Sino-US joint communiques, particularly the joint communique of August 17, 1982. Tomorrow will be the 40th anniversary of the August 17 Joint Communique. We need to read some history. They say that people now have no interest in history or in law. And that's how we are in this. Let me read the sentences in the August 17 Joint Communique: “The United States Government states that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution.” So 40 years, too long. Has the US resolved this over the past 40 years? No. We haven't seen the United States honor its commitments. They are still going on, the arms sales. The quantities are more, and the qualities are more sophisticated. This is written in black and white in the international document. The United States government has reneged on this commitment. So of course we are opposed strongly to arms sales from the United States. This is the move to change the status quo. This is the move to create tensions. And this is the move to obstruct our efforts to achieve peaceful reunification.
David Lawler (Axios): I have another question on “One China Two Systems”, but just quickly, you said the overwhelming will of the Chinese people is for reunification. I wonder if you accept that based on the many polls in elections that the overwhelming will of people in Taiwan at present — I know you said you want to change that — but at present is not to be unified by China.
Ambassador Qin Gang: Let me emphasize this, no matter how different the political systems are between the mainland and Taiwan, the historical fact that both sides belong to one and the same China remains unchanged and will never change. And the fact that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese remains unchanged and will never change. We share the same root, cultural heritage, and national identity. We fully understand Taiwan has been separated from the motherland for decades. We fully understand the (different) political and social systems. We fully understand the sentiments of Chinese people in Taiwan. So that's why we have designed the policy of “One Country, Two Systems”. That is to accommodate the differences and accommodate the realities and people's sentiments. This is democracy. This is a great invention in the world. Can you imagine that any place in the United States has a different political, social system? Although I do understand the federal and local differences, your overarching system is the same. In Taiwan, we have shown great goodwill and tolerance to usher in peaceful reunification. The current political system can continue (after reunification). “Two systems” is democracy.
David Lawler: Which leads me to my next question. You said “One Country, Two Systems” still exists in Hong Kong.
Ambassador Qin Gang: Yes.
David Lawler: So does Beijing decide what both systems are or does Taiwan decide? For Hong Kong, obviously, Beijing is defining both systems.
Ambassador Qin Gang: The future solutions to the political systems, the Taiwan solution, will be negotiated by people of both sides. It's a democratic process. The interests and concerns of Taiwan will be fully considered and accommodated based on the principle of “one China”. When people talk about “One Country, Two Systems”, please don't forget the foundation and precondition is “one China”. We cannot allow the foundation or precondition of “one China” to be denied by the “two systems”. If there's no “one country”, there will be no “two systems”.
Iain Marlow (Bloomberg): I was just gonna ask if you thought that Hong Kong had a helpful input into how the “two systems” practice in Hong Kong. Because the national security law was sent into effect in a hurry. Even people like the Chief Executive and others didn't see it before it was enacted. I'm just wondering when those of us who were in Hong Kong who saw Taiwan opinion change against China over the course of what happened in Hong Kong, I think a lot of people in Taiwan obviously look at what happens in Hong Kong and say, we don't want what is happening there. So do you think the national security law in Hong Kong will be applied to Taiwan as well?
Ambassador Qin Gang: Hong Kong has been ruled by British colonialists for more than 100 years. It's natural that for people to get used to the new reality that Hong Kong has returned to the motherland, it takes time. Hong Kong returned to China just 25 years ago. And over the past 25 years, you can see that generally speaking, “One Country, Two Systems”, the policy is successful. There were ups and downs, twists and turns, like what we saw 3 years ago in Hong Kong. But we learn, we draw lessons and we improve. What we are doing is improve “One Country, Two Systems”, for the benefit of the long-lasting stability and prosperity. If we make a success story of “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong, it will help our compatriots in Taiwan to better understand the “One Country, Two Systems” and to better think about the future.
Nahal Toosi (POLITICO): Let me start by how you're approaching all of this. You're sticking to the talking points. You're often not really answering the question. It’s pretty standard, I guess, in the diplomatic world. I was just curious as a Chinese diplomat, do you genuinely feel empowered? Do you feel that the Foreign Ministry has power in your system? And where do you see Chinese diplomacy going in the years ahead? Because if the US and China will fight or be rivals, wherever diplomacy is going will be a big credit. Can you talk a little bit about Chinese diplomacy?
Ambassador Qin Gang: First of all, I'm the Chinese ambassador, not a freelance journalist (Everyone laughs). I must represent my government’s positions, and the will and wish of the Chinese people. And what I said to you, actually, is heartful. I'm not telling lies, not spreading disinformation, or scaring people. I just tell you the truth and facts. I'm not always sticking to the talking points, as everybody has heard. On thorny issues of course we have talking points, like what officials of the White House and the State Department, they are doing. But I give more elaborations on our policies. And if you draw the conclusion that what I talked about are all stereotypes and rhetorics, I think that you are wasting your time. I really hope that everybody here today will find this conversation necessary and helpful. This is my wish. From my point of view, I gave plenty of information.
To answer your question, what is China's diplomacy? China’s diplomacy is to be friendly with the rest of the world, to better protect China's interests, as diplomacy of any other countries are doing. And also, China's diplomacy will work for peace, security, and common development. Here in the United States, myself and my colleagues would like to be a bridge linking Chinese and American people. I am not here in this country only talking and lecturing. At this difficult moment, I want to listen, communicate with people, reach out to people of different communities, listen to people for their observations. Why our relations now is going downhill? Asking for their wisdom about how can we get out of the difficulty. What can we do to make our relations stable and productive so that our relations will not be driven by fear, but by common interests. And I need people to help, telling me their suggestions so that I can digest and I can report to Beijing. This is my role: a bridge, a listening post and a helping hand.
Nahal Toosi: So just be clear, you give each of us a separate interview at some point. You want to be a bridge, sharing our wisdom. And I'm not saying any of us are gonna give you any advice, but maybe...
Ambassador Qin Gang: You're always welcome.
Steve Clemons (The Hill): Ambassador, a lot of Republicans applauded Nancy Pelosi’s trip and a lot of people anticipate, perhaps the Republicans coming in to control the House. And thus you may see another Speaker of the House want to go to Taiwan quickly, maybe Kevin McCarthy, maybe another leader. How would China respond in the case of Speaker of the House going to Taiwan?
Ambassador Qin Gang: I have noted that there was no Republican on Nancy Pelosi’s visit, although as you mentioned, they are supportive of the visit. And China has always been opposing congressional visits to Taiwan. The Speaker of the House is not a person in the street. He or she carries great sensitivity and importance. And he or she visiting Taiwan is a violation of the US commitment that the United States will not maintain official links with Taiwan. I can't answer hypothetical questions. Let's wait and see. But China will make our decisions or take our actions to defend our territorial integrity and national sovereignty. I hope that Nancy Pelosi is the last Speaker to visit Taiwan.
Everyone: Thank you, Ambassador.
Ambassador Qin Gang: Thank you.