China's new US ambassador calls relationship 'vital'
China Daily Global

China's new Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang makes remarks to Chinese and US media upon arrival in the United States on July 28, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's new ambassador to the United States, who arrived in the country Wednesday, pledged to work to get bilateral relations back on track amid a period fraught with tension.

"Looking forward to the coming time in the country," said Qin Gang, China's new top diplomat to the US, in his first Twitter post after landing in New York on Wednesday afternoon.

The 55-year-old former vice-foreign minister of China was greeted upon arrival by Li Kexin, deputy chief of mission of the Chinese Embassy; Huang Ping, China's consul general in New York, and other Chinese diplomats in the US, according to a statement by the Chinese embassy.

Qin will assume office as China's 11th ambassador to the US, following the departure of his predecessor, Cui Tiankai, who completed his tenure of eight years and returned to China on June 23.

Qin's service at the Chinese embassy in Washington DC comes at a time when the bilateral relationship is viewed by many experts as being in a downward spiral, as the two countries have collided on an array of different issues.

There's also an emerging bipartisan push from the US toward confrontation and competition with China, as some politicians have hyped the perception of China as an adversary or threat.

During his first media briefing with Chinese and American reporters upon arriving, Qin recalled Henry Kissinger's secret trip to China 50 years ago, which opened the door to the normalization of Sino-American relations.

"Fifty years later today, as the 11th Chinese ambassador to the United States, I can travel most openly and fly directly to this country. How the world has changed with the passage of time!" Qin said. "I believe that the door of China-US relations, which is already open, cannot be closed. This is the trend of the world, the call of the times, and the will of the people."

Over the past 50 years, the bilateral relationship has "kept moving forward despite twists and turns", he said. Qin noted that the relationship is once again at a critical juncture with difficulties and challenges, but also opportunities and potential.

"Where this important relationship will be headed is vital for the well-being of the Chinese and American peoples and for the future of the world. The two peoples and the international community hope for a sound, stable and growing relationship between the two countries," he said.

Noting that President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden spoke by phone on the eve of the Chinese New Year, Qin vowed to "build bridges of communication and cooperation with all sectors of the United States".

"I look forward to working closely with them to safeguard the foundation of China-US relations, uphold the shared interests of the two peoples, and endeavor to bring China-US relations back on track, turning the way for the two countries to get along with each other — mutual respect, equality, win-win cooperation and peaceful coexistence — from a possibility into a reality," Qin said.

In a message posted on the Chinese embassy website, Qin emphasized that the two countries need to "treat each other with mutual respect and equality and pursue peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation".

Related story: China's new top US envoy assumes post

Qin Gang, China's new ambassador to the United States, arrives in the US on July 28, 2021. [Photo/China-embassy.org]

Qin stressed China's firm commitment to peaceful development. He expressed the country's desire to "advance world peace, contribute to global development, and uphold (the) international order", as well as to "work with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind".

Born in Tianjin in March 1966, Qin joined the Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions, which is affiliated with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 1988 as a staff member. Over the years, he has held a number of important positions, including as minister of the Chinese embassy in the UK, and director general of the Information Department and Protocol Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He served two times as the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, between 2005 and 2014. During those stints, Qin was known for his straightforward and witty style.

During a media briefing on the China-CEEC Summit in February, Qin responded to a question about China conducting "wolf warrior diplomacy" by saying that Chinese diplomats must stand out and say no when faced with crazy attacks against China.

That is different from showing a tough attitude, he said.

It is unreasonable to slander China while pre-empting the country from fighting back, he added.

Qin stressed that China has never spread lies or disinformation, and to the contrary, is a victim of various rumors and disinformation.

A spokesperson for the US-China Business Council said the organization is "delighted to welcome the new ambassador".

"During these challenging times, the China embassy serves as an important bridge between the two countries and their business communities," said Douglas Barry, senior director of communications and publications with the US-China Business Council.

"We encourage both governments to redouble efforts to meet regularly in good faith and open minds to resolve disagreements — some of which affect not just our two countries but the world," said Barry.

Related story: China's new top US envoy assumes post