On Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) stated that he thinks China “believes that we need to respect the sovereignty of its own country and of other countries.” And maintained that China’s actions towards Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan don’t contradict his belief China believes in national sovereignty because those are “territorial disputes” that “relate to what they believe is legitimately their country, through either the rights of sea or through the historic relationship between Taiwan and mainland China.”

After Cardin said that he hopes China “wants to be on the right side” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and there will be “consequences and accountability” if China supports Russia, host Jake Tapper asked, “[China] is an oppressive autocracy. They’re currently, according to the U.S. State Department, committing cultural genocide of the Uyghur Muslim minority population. What makes anyone think the Chinese government would care about what side of history they’re on?”


Cardin answered, “China does not share our values. We recognize that. Their leadership does not share that, and that’s disappointing. But we would hope that their leadership would understand the importance of respecting the sovereignty of a state and that what Mr. Putin is doing violates every international norm in regards to sovereignty. And China, I believe, believes that we need to respect the sovereignty of its own country and of other countries. So, I would hope that the leadership would recognize that Mr. Putin crossed a line that no one wants to be on what he’s doing and facilitating what he’s doing.”

Tapper then asked, “Explain to our viewers why they would think that China, considering what it has done in Tibet and Hong Kong and Taiwan, why China would have any sort of belief in sovereignty for another country, considering how they behave when it comes to territories, countries that don’t want to be Chinese but are being forced to be?”

Cardin responded, “Well, you raise a very valid point. But recognize that China’s territorial disputes relate to what they believe is legitimately their country, through either the rights of sea or through the historic relationship between Taiwan and mainland China. The issue concerning their domestic population are areas that we believe violate international norms, but they’re certainly not sovereignty issues. So, I think the sovereignty of a country, even for China, what Russia has done has gone too far. And we hope they understand that. What Mr. Putin did…it’s an unprovoked attack against a sovereign nation that was peaceful. I would not think that any legitimate government would want to support that action.”

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