China’s new ambassador to the United States, who arrived in the country Wednesday, pledged to work to get bilateral relations back on track amid a period fraught with tension.
“Looking forward to the coming time in the country,” said Qin Gang, China’s new top diplomat to the US, in his first Twitter post after landing in New York on Wednesday afternoon.
The 55-year-old former vice-foreign minister of China was greeted upon arrival by Li Kexin, deputy chief of mission of the Chinese Embassy; Huang Ping, China’s consul general in New York, and other Chinese diplomats in the US, according to a statement by the Chinese embassy.
Qin will assume office as China’s 11th ambassador to the US, following the departure of his predecessor, Cui Tiankai, who completed his tenure of eight years and returned to China on June 23.
Qin’s service at the Chinese embassy in Washington DC comes at a time when the bilateral relationship is viewed by many experts as being in a downward spiral, as the two countries have collided on an array of different issues.
There’s also an emerging bipartisan push from the US toward confrontation and competition with China, as some politicians have hyped the perception of China as an adversary or threat.
During his first media briefing with Chinese and American reporters upon arriving, Qin recalled Henry Kissinger’s secret trip to China 50 years ago, which opened the door to the normalization of Sino-American relations.
“Fifty years later today, as the 11th Chinese ambassador to the United States, I can travel most openly and fly directly to this country. How the world has changed with the passage of time!” Qin said. “I believe that the door of China-US relations, which is already open, cannot be closed. This is the trend of the world, the call of the times, and the will of the people.”
Over the past 50 years, the bilateral relationship has “kept moving forward despite twists and turns”, he said. Qin noted that the relationship is once again at a critical juncture with difficulties and challenges, but also opportunities and potential.
“Where this important relationship will be headed is vital for the well-being of the Chinese and American peoples and for the future of the world. The two peoples and the international community hope for a sound, stable and growing relationship between the two countries,” he said.
Noting that President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden spoke by phone on the eve of the Chinese New Year, Qin vowed to “build bridges of communication and cooperation with all sectors of the United States”.
“I look forward to working closely with them to safeguard the foundation of China-US relations, uphold the shared interests of the two peoples, and endeavor to bring China-US relations back on track, turning the way for the two countries to get along with each other — mutual respect, equality, win-win cooperation and peaceful coexistence — from a possibility into a reality,” Qin said.
In a message posted on the Chinese embassy website, Qin emphasized that the two countries need to “treat each other with mutual respect and equality and pursue peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation”.