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New US ambassador faces a tough job

(Global Times)

08:41, August 15, 2011

Gary Locke created a media frenzy when he set foot in China as the new US ambassador to the country Friday. On Weibo, people showed interest in the fact that he carried his own luggage and chose a low-profile escort vehicle after landing in China.

The first Chinese American to hold the position, Gary Locke naturally generates more curiosity among the Chinese public. For Chinese locals, he is probably the most recognizable American ambassador to China in history.

With China's rise and the implication of the Sino-US relationship on the world, the role of the US ambassador to China carries much more importance.

Locke's previous background as the US secretary of commerce, a cabinet position, highlights this significance.

China and the US are more deeply interdependent from each other while conflicts also exist in many fronts. Locke best illustrates the clashes between these challenges and hopes.

Naturally, Locke carries great hopes from both countries, given his past record in bringing closer ties between China and the US, and his aggressiveness in increasing exports of American goods to China. Locke holds a unique advantage in facilitating communication between the two sides. However, it is also reasonable that the ambassador's report card is also subject to general feelings between Beijing and Washington.

Locke's Chinese origins might gain him some advantages in understanding China's public opinion, which is not necessarily always reserved and mild. Instead, he faces a Chinese public that is more open and direct.

After his first press conference as the ambassador, the official Weibo account of the US embassy in China was filled with posts by Chinese users asking when the US is going to pay back the money China lent it.

Neither will his Chinese origins mean a softer stance in advancing American interests. When Locke's nomination was announced in March, Chinese scholars expressed realistic expectations of the Sino-US relationship if he were to hold the ambassador's position. The fluctuation in bilateral ties during the Obama administration has strengthened Chinese public's preparedness for future uncertainties between the two countries.

In his first press conference, Locke also stressed the American values that he represents. It is hoped that these include honoring commitments and having the courage to take responsibility.


Leave your comment1 comments

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ren at 2011-08-16120.166.82.*
I believe he would work hard, honest, and full of responsibility as his ancestors.

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