China’s new ambassador arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday as both the U.S. and Chinese governments said they wanted to their relationship Get back on track.
Xie Feng said his goal was to strengthen US-China relations amid “serious difficulties and challenges”.
“We hope that the U.S. side will work with China to strengthen dialogue, manage differences and expand cooperation so that our relationship can get back on track,” Xie said in English after arriving in New York. .
Xie Feng’s arrival as top envoy to Beijing comes after a turbulent period in relations between Washington and Beijing.Tensions rise after ex-House speaker’s visit Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken postponed a planned visit to China earlier this year Chinese surveillance balloon across the United States.
In recent weeks, however, there have been signs that those heated tensions appear to be cooling down. National security adviser Jack Sullivan met with senior Chinese official Wang Yi in Vienna, and China’s commerce minister is likely to meet top U.S. commerce and trade officials in the United States in the coming weeks.
President Joe Biden said in Japan over the weekend that “everything has changed in terms of talking to each other” after the spy balloon incident, but “I think you’re going to see that start to thaw pretty quickly.”
Xie said on Tuesday that he looked forward to “properly handling sensitive and important issues such as the Taiwan issue” and engaging with Americans “from all walks of life.” He mentioned the last time he worked in the United States as a diplomat more than ten years ago, and said that the world and the United States have changed a lot.
U.S. officials expected Xie to be a capable and productive interlocutor, based on their past interactions with the longtime Chinese diplomat.
“He’s a professional, he’s very capable. We’ve known him for many, many years. I think he’s been in the Foreign Office for over 30 years,” a State Department official said. “We’ve really known him since he was in Washington. He’s traveled a lot, most recently as undersecretary of foreign affairs, overseeing the Americas and other departments.”
U.S. officials pointed out that the current U.S.-China relationship is different from when Xie met with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in the summer of 2021, when he said that the U.S.-China relationship was at an “impasse and faced serious difficulties.”
Late last year, Xie met with senior State Department and National Security Council officials who were visiting China following Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 in Bali. It was one of many contacts Hsieh had with Biden officials over the past few years.
“Things have changed,” the official said of the moment, compared with earlier days in the Biden administration. Since the Sherman meeting — a tense meeting between Blinken and Sullivan in Alaska with their Chinese counterparts — there have been “dozens of hours” of phone calls between the U.S. and China, including Feng Xie, especially Blinken was scheduled to visit Beijing earlier this year in preparation for Biden’s meeting with President Xi in Bali.
“We’ve seen how professional he is, how articulate he is,” the official said.
Getting the previous Chinese ambassador to the US up and running had a “longer process”, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Officials want Xie to formally get the process up and running — which would require him to present his credentials to Biden, which the White House arranged — to proceed as soon as possible.
The State Council welcomed Xie Feng’s arrival. “We look forward to working with the ambassador-designate and his team,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a news conference.
Miller said the State Department protocol officer would endeavor to present Xie’s credentials “in accordance with standard State Department practice and diplomatic norms.”
“As we’ve said on multiple occasions, we remain committed to maintaining lines of communication with China to manage competition responsibly,” Miller said.