TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Ambassador of China to the United States Cui Tiankai (崔天凯) said that Taiwan is a “life and death” question for China, in an interview with the South China Morning Post on Monday (Nov. 20).
Cui, who served as China’s top diplomat in Washington for eight years, said that his country has no room for concession on Taiwan. “China will achieve this reunification one way or another. Of course, our preference is through peaceful reunification,” Cui said.
Cui said the only thing that would cause war with Taiwan is changes to the "one China framework." “As long as nobody is trying to challenge the 'one China' principle, there is no need for the use of force,” he said.
Within that framework, “everything else can be negotiated,” Cui said. “But, if this 'one China' principle is undermined, challenged, then the risk of war will increase very much,” he said.
Cui said that weapons sales and visits from top U.S. politicians to Taiwan are challenging the "one China framework." “That’s why we are warning (U.S. leaders), that they should stop,” he said.
Cui Tiankai is pictured in 2016. (CNA photo)
Through the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. has committed to providing Taiwan with the means to defend itself. On Nov. 16, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that arms sales to Taiwan would continue, following a four-hour meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) amid San Francisco’s APEC summit the previous day.
Cui said that such meetings are “always important.” He said that the U.S. and China should not see themselves as rivals, but base cooperation on “mutual respect, and aim to coexist peacefully.”
Cui said that an understanding of cooperation on this basis is more important than cooperation in specific areas.