China’s new ambassador to the US, Ta Phong, said this is a difficult time in bilateral relations and he wants to improve the situation.
“I want to strengthen China-US relations at a time of great difficulties and challenges. We hope that the US will work with China to strengthen dialogue, address differences and expand cooperation to put the two countries’ relations back on track ,” said China’s new ambassador, Ta Phong, after arriving at New York’s JFK airport on May 23 to receive a job.
Xie came to the United States to serve as ambassador after a tumultuous period in relations between Beijing and Washington. Tensions rose after last year’s visit to Taiwan by then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Earlier this year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a visit to Beijing after the US incident brought down a Chinese airship entering its territory.
However, recent bilateral tensions have shown signs of cooling. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Vienna and China’s Commerce Minister may meet Washington’s top US trade official in the coming weeks.
Speaking in Japan while attending the G7 summit last weekend, US President Joe Biden said “things have changed when we talk” following the balloon incident and the “thaw” in relations with the US. China will happen very quickly.
Ambassador Ta Phong expressed his desire to “properly handle important and sensitive issues such as Taiwan”, as well as contact with Americans “from all walks of life”.
New US Ambassador Ta Phong speaks to the press in New York City, US, May 23. Photo: Reuters
US officials expect Ta to be a capable and effective dialogue partner, based on past contacts with the veteran diplomat.
“He is professional and very capable. We have known Xie for many years. I think he has worked at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for over 30 years,” the US State Department official said. “Mr. Ta has traveled to Washington many times and most recently served as Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of the Americas in the summer of 2021.”
Mr. Ta then met with Deputy Foreign Minister Wendy Sherman and said bilateral relations had reached an “impasse”. However, US officials say the current US-China relationship is very different.
Late last year, Xie met with senior US State Department and National Security Council officials who visited China following President Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. . It was one of many contacts between Ta and Biden administration officials in recent years.
“We’ve seen how professional he is,” the State Department official said. Since the meeting between Ta and Sherman, US and Chinese officials have received “dozens of phone calls”.
The post of China’s ambassador to the US has been vacant since late last year, when Ambassador Qin Gang was named China’s foreign minister. This is the longest period of ambassador vacancies since the US and China normalized relations in 1979.
Mr. Ta will officially start work after presenting his credentials to President Biden. Authorities hope the process will be as quick as possible.
The US State Department also welcomed Ta’s arrival. “We look forward to working with the ambassador and his team,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “We remain committed to maintaining channels of communication with China to manage competition responsibly.”
Huyen Le (according to CNN)