BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President George W.
Bush will formally open the new U.S. Embassy here on Friday, the opening day of
"This is a moment I have long waited for. After more
than 15 years of discussions and four and a half years of construction, our
magnificent embassy will be officially dedicated by the president," U.S.
Ambassador to China Clark Randt told reporters on Tuesday.
Built on 4 hectares in a new diplomatic zone in
northeast Beijing, the 46,000-square meter compound is second in size only to
the embassy in Baghdad.
"This spectacular new embassy complex will provide
the United States government with a platform appropriate for the most important
bilateral relationship of the 21st century, the U.S.-China relationship," Randt
"Our new embassy, together with the impressive new
Chinese embassy in Washington D.C., which was unveiled on July 29, are tangible
symbols of the growth and importance of our bilateral relationship," Randt
The complex, which cost 434 million U.S. dollars,
includes five buildings designed with traditional Chinese elements. All
buildings are enclosed in bullet-proof transparent or opaque glass.
"Given the current security environment, it's
expensive to use this amount of glass, because we need to design it in such a
way that it resists a car bomb attack and other sorts of hostile actions," John
Holleran, the project architect, said.
The complex will house a staff of about 1,100 from 26
U.S. agencies who are now working at 22 locations in Beijing. "For the first
time, we will be working together in one consolidated and secure operating
site," Randt said.
The consular section has been enlarged, which Randt
said will permit the embassy to meet the rapidly increasing demand for visas to
visit the United States and provide a more comfortable environment for