China sends new ambassador to US amid strained ties

China sends new ambassador to US amid strained ties


BEIJING (AP) — China's new ambassador to the United States outlined the challenges the two countries face in what has become an increasingly competitive and contentious relationship, while refraining from any criticism in short remarks after arriving to take up his new post.

“China and the United States are entering a new round of mutual exploration, understanding and adaptation, trying to find a way to get along with each other in the new era," Qin Gang said in remarks posted by the Chinese Embassy in Washington after his arrival Wednesday.

Qin’s arrival comes as relations with the U.S. have plunged to their worst level in decades with no sign of bottoming out. The two sides remain sharply at odds over a host of issues, including trade, technology, cybersecurity, human rights and China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy under President Xi Jinping.

Qin, 55, most recently was one of China’s nine vice foreign ministers and has been ministry spokesperson twice, gaining a reputation for tart responses that have now become standard fare among those in that position.

“His open remarks towards the West and the U.S. are tougher than Chinese ambassadors of previous terms,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.

The U.S. currently has no ambassador in Beijing, although President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador to NATO and State Department spokesperson.

Relations between the countries nosedived under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, but high-level meetings this week in Tianjin, China, again lay bare the deep divisions between them.

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