BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Foreign Ministry
said China hopes that the nomination of Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. as the U.S.
ambassador to China will play a "positive" role in bilateral relations, local
media reported Monday.
The Beijing-based Global Times said in its cover
story Monday that China's Foreign Ministry had been diplomatically contacted
regarding the nomination.
Video grab of C-span shows Utah's
Republican Governor Jon Huntsman devlivering a speech after being
nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama as U.S. ambassador to China, at
the White House in Washington, May 16, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)
"The United States has sought opinions from the
Chinese side through diplomatic channels and China is handling the issue
according to relevant procedures and international conventions," the ministry
said in a statement.
"We hope that a new appointee will play a positive
role and work to the advantage of the development of bilateral relations in a
new era and strengthen the friendship between the two peoples," the ministry
Fluent in Chinese Mandarin (Putonghua) and having
adopted a Chinese daughter, the newly nominated US ambassador to China looks to
assume a crucial role of diplomat between two nations that are increasingly
interdependent in economic matters and are often at odds over hot-button issues
such as human rights and weapon sales to Taiwan.
But analysts warn that even with the strong Chinese
cultural background that Huntsman possesses, it doesn't mean the US will be any
less firm with China on contested and thorny issues, according to the Global
Huntsman was tapped for the key foreign-policy role
that has been vacant since Clark T. Randt Jr. retired from the position in
"The nomination of the new ambassador does good to
both sides," Shi Yinhong, director of the American Studies Center at Renmin
University of China, was quoted by the Global Times as saying.
Shi called Huntsman a powerful politician with rich
policy-making experience related to China.
Huntsman, 49, son of a Utah multimillionaire and
philanthropist, served as a White House staff assistant to President Reagan,
ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush and deputy trade
representative under President George W. Bush.
The governor has strong ties to Asia: He lived as a
Mormon missionary in Taiwan. He and his wife, Mary Kaye, adopted two daughters,
one from China and one from India. He also supports Utah's legislative push to
offer Chinese language courses in school, which would be the first of its kind
in the US.
But that does not mean thorny issues would be
Tao Wenzhao, an expert on Sino-U.S. relations at the
American Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times
that China must be vigilant, as the US is a collection of various interest
groups, which means the arms sellers will continue to sell weapons to Taiwan and
its defense department won't stop spreading the "China Threat Theory."
"That's why we can't be optimistic, though there will
be a new ambassador with closer connections to China," he said.
Obama appoints Utah governor as new
ambassador to China
WASHINGTON, May 16 (Xinhua) -- President Barack Obama on
Saturday named Utah Governor Jon Huntsman the new U.S. ambassador to China.
"I'm extraordinarily pleased to announce that Jon Huntsman
would be our ambassador to China. And I cannot think of a more important
assignment that is creating the kind of bridges between our two countries that
would determine the well-being of not just Americans and Chinese but also the
future of world," Obama said at a White House press conference with Huntsman and
his wife standing nearby. Full story