The new U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, is pledging to strengthen bilateral ties, saying China-U.S. cooperation in business, science and academia could lead to solutions to “many of the problems facing the entire world.”
Locke spoke Sunday in Beijing, at his first news conference since arriving in the capital last week. Flanked by family members at his official residence, the Chinese-American diplomat told reporters he will work to fulfill the promises of bilateral cooperation. He also said the Unites States is working to get its financial house in order. China holds the largest amount of U.S. treasury debt.
The U.S. Senate last month confirmed Locke’s appointment by President Barack Obama, after confirmation hearings in which Locke said Beijing must do more to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
He also pledged to raise concerns about China’s human rights record, including Beijing’s months-long crackdown on journalists, lawyers, Internet activists and artists.
In May, in his previous job as U.S. commerce secretary, Locke said Chinese companies enjoy more opportunities in the United States than American firms do in China, and called that imbalance a “major barrier” to improved commercial relations. In response, the Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing is continuing to improve the legal framework for foreign investment.
Locke replaces Jon Huntsman, who left the ambassador post earlier this year to explore a U.S. presidential bid.