aircraft carrier: “this so-called aircraft carrier was really just a framework of a second-hand aircraft carrier that we refitted and will only be used for scientific research and training purposes. It’s far, far from being a full-fledged aircraft carrier … Your concern about the Chinese military appears to me to be clouded by stereotypes about China based in the Cold War thinking of the division between us ideologically. You feel comfortable with aircraft carrier ownership by your allies, like the United States and France, but you are more concerned if China also has one. ”
south China Sea: “SPIEGEL: How far will China go in terms of defending its interests? In the dispute over the sovereignty of the South China Sea, the tone can at times be quite sharp.”
“this is a dispute of words, and what matters is that the shipping traffic in the South China Sea remains peaceful and there is no war or conflict going on.”
Chinese support for North Korea:” If every time you don’t like the leader of a country and then move in and intervene, that would lead to chaos. Think of your own experience in intervention, which is not always successful….. In the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, we have the six-party talks. I believe patient diplomacy will pay off in the end.”
on Iran and China’s lack of support for US supported UN actions: “We don’t have a better solution.”
on US arms embargo: “Are we preparing for a war against each other? We certainly don’t see it that way. It is not very friendly that the US maintains a weapons embargo against China. We have no intention to threaten the US, and we don’t see the US as a threat to us. The West tends to place China in the framework of the Cold War. This puzzles China a lot.”
the end justifies the means “If you fundamentally accept that China’s growth has lifted countless people in the country out of poverty, then you also have to agree that China has done things right. … The countries in the West think they have the only system that works and they have narrowed down “democracy” to a multi-party election system, which works well for some countries, most of the time, but as we are now seeing with the latest financial crisis, they sometimes experience difficulties too. The West has become very conceited. At the end of the day, democracy alone cannot put food on the table.
at the moment it is the Western governments that are having problems. We are observing what is going on in the West. We try to understand why so many governments made so many mistakes. Why do political parties make commitments they cannot fulfill? Why do they spend so much more than they have? Has the West been stagnating since the end of the Cold War? Or has it just become conceited?”
Is the Chinese System supreme?: ” We are not the Soviet Union. During the entire Cold War, the West and the Soviet Union were at each other’s throats. You each wanted to see the other side’s demise; that was your strategic objective. But China was not part of your fight…..Many say that power is shifting from the West to the East, but we believe that it is a process of diffusion. It used to be within the Western world, but now it is also diffusing to a wider world. There is a need to reform the current world structure, which was built after World War II to the benefit of around 1 billion people of the developed world. China is only one of the newly emerging countries. Brazil is growing. India is growing, as are parts of Africa. In the future, 3 to 4 billion people will be coming into this process of wider industrialization. But that reform needs to be an incremental process that is achieved not through war and not through conflict, but through dialogue. ”
on the EU’s problems: ” Very recently, my colleagues and I discussed the future of the European Union. The prevalent view was that if you work together to address the current difficulties, then the EU will go forward to become more integrated. If you do not, the euro zone might collapse. ”
on the world financial order: ( if the financial crisis in the West extends to other regions.) “Everyone would suffer”
“China has no intention to rule the world. But if you continue to see yourself as the center of the world, if you see yourself as the monopoly of all truths, all the right beliefs and all the right values, then you will always find it uncomfortable when you realize that the world is diversified. There are different values and cultures. We are living in a new world. Get down off your high horse of being on top of the world. Come down to be equals and join us on a level playing field instead of creating a new rival in the style of the Cold War. ”
on Ai Weiwei “you are conceited. You really take yourself very seriously.
The case you are discussing is a legal matter. I am not really interested in this case.Your view of China is very narrow and negative, and that’s why we don’t feel comfortable discussing human rights with you. Our understanding of human rights is based on the UN Charter, which guarantees political rights, the right to life and the right to development. But in your view, human rights seem to concern only some individuals who are subverting the state or are breaching laws.
If you have such great interest in this case and believe there has been a breach of law or rules in his case, you may very well raise it. We can pass it on to the authorities. ”
on the Arab Spring: “As for China, I don’t see any direct linkage. Again, it’s the habit of some Western analysts to connect everything bad with China. If you think your society is strong enough to avoid infection by the Arab revolution, what makes you think that the Chinese society is so weak that it has to be infected? Eighty-seven percent of Chinese surveyed in a poll by the Pew Research Center in 2010 said the government is on the right track. In the US, however, recent polls show that a lot of people think the country is not on the right path.”
on Tibet and the Dali Lama: “I am glad more and more people are visiting Tibet, and more and more people understand life in Tibet better now.”
on journalist’s access to Tibet: “There is a bit of concern about the intentions and motives of Western journalists. Sometimes it’s as if some of them come to a wedding and only want to inspect the contents of a dark corner. They want to show the world there is no smiling bride, there is no groom and no happy friends — just darkness. They write about it extensively. They may be facts, but they are very selective facts.”
Chinese exceptionalism: “Superiority is the not the word we use. The Chinese are very modest.,,,, Not at all. We don’t view ourselves as a superpower. You are not going to see a USA or a Soviet Union in China. You are going to see a culturally nourished country with a big population, being more content, being happy, being purposeful — and it will be a friend to the world. There is no reason to worry about China. ”