Cui: Toward 'Common Security' and Cooperation in the Asia Pacific

China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai in Hong Kong on July 5, 2012. (Asia Society Hong Kong Center)

HONG KONG, July 5, 2012 — China does not wish to be the dominant power in the Asia Pacific region, nor does it approve of any other country wanting to be such, according to Cui Tiankai, China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. Speaking at Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Cui stressed "we believe countries should build mutual trust and seek common security … Security at the expense of others will only make us less secure."

Speaking in Putonghua, Cui stated that regional affairs should be handled by countries in the region through consultation, and respected ASEAN’s role as the key driver in East Asian cooperation. "China has never coveted dominance on regional affairs and we don't think anyone should ever try to," he declared.

On Sino-U.S. relations, he underscored the importance of the two superpowers' working together "to explore patterns of positive interaction in the Asia-Pacific that features peaceful co-existence, healthy competition and win-win cooperation."

What needed to be done now, stressed Cui, was to implement true consensus on the ground. Furthermore, he pledged that China would work with the U.S. to nurture mutual trust; have candid communication; expand cooperation; and properly manage their differences. Cui also spoke of the important role played by Hong Kong as a bridge for American-Chinese exchanges.

Asked if the Obama administration's recently announced strategic "pivot" to East Asia would affect China's core interests, Cui noted "wording is not as important as action." Responding to questions in English, he continued, "statements like the United States' 'pivoting' to Asia" also don't help in increasing mutual trust.

Reported by Penny Tang and Danielle Chin

Note: A complete English-language transcript of Cui's Asia Society Hong Kong speech, provided by the People's Republic of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is available here. And Chinese-language transcript is available here. The English-language Q&A session that followed Cui's prepared remarks begins at 19:52 in the video below.

Video: Watch the complete program (36 min., 37 sec.)