Cui Tiankai 崔天凯, China’s ambassador in Washington, gave an interview to Chris Wallace of Fox News on Sunday. The Chinese embassy published a transcript of the interview “including contents not being broadcasted.”
Wallace opened with a question about U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s allegation in his October 4 speech that China is meddling in American elections. Much of the Chinese state media coverage of the interview focused on Cui’s denial of this — in my opinion, laughable — allegation.
Wallace also pressed Cui on trade issues, intellectual property, espionage, North Korea, and China and America’s behavior in the South China Sea, but not the Xinjiang re-education / concentration camps that the government calls “vocational centers.” Cui dismissed, denied, and defended China against all accusations. He comes off as a competent diplomat, but his performance is unlikely to win any converts to the Party’s cause.
Perhaps the only amusing exchange of the interview:
Wallace: Are you clear who President Trump listens to on trade issues, whether it’s moderates like [Larry] Kudlow and [Steven] Mnuchin, or hardliners like [Peter] Navarro?
Cui: You tell me.
Wallace: You have confusion about this? I mean, that’s obviously part of your job, as the Chinese ambassador, to be able to report back to Beijing who has the president’s ear?
Cui: Honestly, I’ve been talking to ambassadors of other countries in Washington, D.C., and this is also part of their problem.
Cui: They don’t know who is the final decision-maker. Of course, presumably, the president will take the final decision. But who is playing what role? Sometimes it could be very confusing.