OPINIONS Man on mission to help get relations back on track


Man on mission to help get relations back on track

China Daily

13:30, May 25, 2023

Chinese and US flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing. (Photo: Agencies)

Xie Feng, China's new ambassador to the United States, met the media upon his arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

He said that as an envoy of the Chinese people, he saw it as his mission to enhance China-US exchanges and cooperation.

The former vice-minister of foreign affairs overseeing relations with the US said it had been 13 years since he last worked in the US, and both the US and the world have gone through great changes over that period, but he welcomed the opportunity to explore ways to deepen exchanges and cooperation.

That Xie's appointment came after the position had been vacant for more than five months highlights the prudence with which the decision was made, as Beijing attaches great significance to Sino-US relations.

Known for his "blunt rebukes" of the US' containment actions targeting China over the past few years, Xie acknowledged the challenges, saying that he's looking forward to "properly handling sensitive and important issues, such as the Taiwan question," as well as engaging with US citizens "from all walks of life" to jointly contribute insights and actions and courage and grit so the two countries can get along.

Fluent in English, Xie was previously posted twice to China's embassy in Washington. An anonymous US State Department official told CNN: "He (Xie) is a professional, he's very capable. We've known him for many, many years… We have seen how professional, how clear he is."

Xie met with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in the summer of 2021 in Tianjin, and at the end of last year he also met with top State Department and National Security Council officials who visited China following the meeting of the two countries' leaders in Bali, Indonesia, in November last year. That was one of many engagements Xie has had with officials of the Joe Biden administration over the course of the last few years.

Xie's rich US-related work experience and the positive impression he has made in the US over these years mean that he has a good foundation on which to build.

The US State Department welcomed Xie's arrival. "We look forward to working with the ambassador designate and his team," said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller at a news briefing. "We remain committed, as we've said on a number of occasions, to maintaining channels of communication with the PRC to responsibly manage competition."

Although there are even more problems to resolve in bilateral relations than there were five months ago, the US side's welcome at least represents a good beginning for the new ambassador to fulfill his duties, and make his contribution to the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations.

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