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Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai throws shade at Trump in Fox News interview

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.

Wallace: What?

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.

Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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