March 20, 2022
The following is a transcript of an interview with Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang that aired Sunday, March 20, 2022, on "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: Following their call on Friday, the White House said that president Biden had made it clear to President Xi what the consequences would be if China provides material support to Russia. Joining us now is China's ambassador to the United States Qin Gang. Mr. Ambassador, good to see you. Good morning to you.
CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES QIN GANG: Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So President Biden asked Beijing not to provide any kind of support to Russia. Is it your intent to go ahead and give a lifeline to Vladimir Putin?
AMB. QIN: On Friday, President Xi Jinping and the president, Biden, had a video call. It was candid, deep and constructive. President Xi Jinping gave China's position very clear, that is China stands for peace, opposes war. China is a peace-loving country. We hate to see the situation over Ukraine come to today's, you know, like this and we call for immediate ceasefire and we are promoting peace talks and we are sending humanitarian assistance to--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --Will you send money and weapons to Russia, though?
AMB. QIN: Well, There's a disinformation about China providing military assistance to Russia. We reject that--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --You won't do so, Beijing will not?
AMB. QIN: What China is doing is send foods, medicine, sleeping bags and the baby formula--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --That's--
AMB. QIN: --not weapons and ammunition to any party and we are against a war, as I said, you know, we will do everything to dis-escalate the crisis.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Russia's foreign minister said yesterday that Moscow and Beijing will only get closer because of what's happening. Is he right?
AMB. QIN: Well, China and Russia has a trust relations. It was built over many years. It was viewed on many issues. You know, we have a long, shared borders as long as over 4000 kilometers-
MARGARET BRENNAN: So--
AMB. QIN: --and we have a lot of common interests and this trust relations with Russia give us a unique position--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --indeed that's--
AMB. QIN: --in the international efforts for peace talks--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --and that's exactly what the White House is saying, that you are in such a position of power--.
AMB. QIN: --Yeah, let me--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --to pick up the phone and call Vladimir Putin. Has Xi Jinping, your president, told Vladimir Putin to stop the invasion? Do you condemn it?
AMB. QIN: Actually, on the second day of Russia's military operation, President Xi Jinping did talk to President Putin--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --Was at their last phone call?
AMB. QIN: Asking President Putin to think about resuming peace talks with Ukraine and President Putin listened to it, and we have seen four rounds of peace talks, you know have happened. Let me continue. You know, China's trusted relations with Russia, it's not a liability, actually it's an asset in the international efforts to solve the crisis in a peaceful way. You know, and the China is part of the solution, it's not part of the problem. If you--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So are you saying, though, just so we're clear, are you saying Beijing will not provide financial support to Moscow to prolong this war?
AMB. QIN: China has normal trade, economic, financial, energy cooperation with Russia. As I said just now--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --So it's not changing, you're not changing your relationship--
AMB. QIN: These are the normal- normal business between two sovereign countries--
MARGARET BRENNAN: You mentioned--
AMB. QIN: --based on international order, laws, including WTO rules, and you know--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Let's talk about those international laws because four days ago, the International Court of Justice ordered Russia to stop its military actions. China abstained from that. The vote was 13-2. The only country that stood next to Russia, was China--
AMB. QIN: Well--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --That sounds like you are condoning and not condemning.
AMB. QIN: China makes its observation and conclusion based independently- based on the merits of the matter itself. On the one hand, we uphold–
MARGARET BRENNAN: The United Nations Secretary General said Russia invaded–
AMB. QIN: we uphold– We uphold. On the one hand, China upholds the U.N. purposes and -- and the principles, including that- the respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine. On the other hand, we do see that there- there is a complexity in the history of the Ukraine issue. And we are–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you be concerned if Russia amassed more than 150 thousand troops at China's border?
AMB. QIN: Well, that's why we want-
MARGARET BRENNAN: --Just to be clear, because China, you would–
AMB. QIN: --We want friendly, good neighborly relations with Russia–
MARGARET BRENNAN:But you would recognize it's not good friendly neighborly relations and 150 thousand troops on the border of a neighboring country and then to send those troops into that country. In those circumstances, why can't you condemn this as an invasion?
AMB. QIN: Well, let's- don't be naive. Condemnation–
MARGARET BRENNAN: --It sounds naive to say that's not invasion–
AMB. QIN: --It doesn't solve the problem. I would be surprised if Russia will back down by condemnation. What is urgently needed–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Will they back down if your president asks Vladimir Putin to back down? Will your president ask Vladimir Putin to back down?
AMB. QIN: We have done so. And will continue to promote peace talks and urge immediate fire. And, you know, condemnation, you know, only, doesn't help. We need wisdom. We need- We stand- We need courage and we need good diplomacy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Vladimir- Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he would like to meet with Vladimir Putin. Volodymyr Zelenskyy's in a bunker. Vladimir Putin is at a political pro-war rally right now. You can't have diplomacy when it is one country, the only one country willing to actually negotiate.
AMB. QIN: China has good relations with Russia, has good relations with Ukraine, and China keeps close communications with the United States and with Europe. They enable China to reach out to all parties concerned in a crisis. So China's unique role, you know. Can help the peaceful settlement of the crisis.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Tell me then- because I keep hearing you say that. I want to understand how China is helping. If you are not condemning, if you are not cutting off Vladimir Putin from continuing this war, this war that is roiling the entire global economy, sending food prices and energy prices spiking. China wants stability. But why not cut off Vladimir Putin?
AMB. QIN: We have already made it very clear that, you know, national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, should be respected and protected. But as I said, condemnation only cannot work. What we need is good diplomacy based on vision, wisdom, and the courage. And looking ahead the enduring approach to the security issue in Europe–
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to talk to you about one quick thing before- before we run out of time. You talked about how important the U.N. is and what respect you have for it. So a U.N. human rights panel said there are credible reports that a million Uighurs are in a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy, and the High Commissioner for Refugees and Human Rights will go to China soon. Will you give them unlimited access?
AMB. QIN: I totally reject that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes, you will give access or no you won't give access?
AMB. QIN: There's no such a- such a so-called of human rights violation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you will give access?
AMB. QIN: We are in talks with the Human Rights Special Commissioner of the- And I suppose I understand there's a agreement.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We got to go. All right. Thank you very much, Ambassador. We'll be right back.
AMB. QIN: Thank you for having me.