China’s ambassador to the US says America must make a ‘fundamental choice’

(CNN) – China’s Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said America must make a “fundamental choice” about whether it can live peacefully with a “modernized, strong, prosperous” China.

Cui spoke with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an exclusive interview on Saturday, after a dizzying few days in the souring relationship between the US and China.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the White House is reportedly considering banning members of the Chinese Communist Party from entering the US, and on Thursday the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused America of oppressing and bullying China.

In response to claims by some in the West that under President Xi Jinping, China has become more assertive, expansionist and repressive power, Cui said “people have to fully recognize the realities of today’s world.”

“We certainly have the legitimate right to build our country into a modernized, strong, prosperous country, like every other country in the world,” the ambassador said.

“I think that the fundamental question for the United States is very simple,” he said. “Is the United States ready or willing to live with another country with a very different culture, a very different political and economic system … in peace and cooperate on so many and still growing global challenges?”