- The Washington Times - Monday, August 24, 2009


The most immediate priority for the new U.S. ambassador to China is to prepare for President Obama to visit Beijing in the fall.

Ambassador Jon M. Huntsman Jr., who arrived in the Chinese capital on Friday, told reporters that Mr. Obama will begin his trip in mid-November. Although U.S. and Chinese officials have not released exact dates or other details of the visit, the trip could coincide with Mr. Obama’s visit to Singapore on Nov. 14-15 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

“Much is happening in U.S.-China relations this year,” Mr. Huntsman said, after meeting with Commerce Minister Chen Deming on Saturday.

“We have the 30th anniversary of U.S.-China relations. We have, of course, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. We have President Obama, who is going to be visiting in the middle of November, and so I am here to tell you that by the end of this year, we should be in better shape than ever before between the United States and China to be able to anticipate a positive tomorrow.”

He urged China and the United States to “transcend disagreements, difficulties and challenges” and promote the “prosperity, peace and security on both side of the Pacific.”

Mr. Huntsman, a former Republican governor of Utah, served as ambassador to Singapore from 1992 to 1993 and deputy U.S. trade representative in 2001. He and his wife, Mary Kaye, adopted a Chinese girl, who is among their seven children.


The leaders of a key congressional human rights panel said they share the “frustration and sense of betrayal” felt by families of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103, after a Scottish court last week released the Libyan terrorist convicted of masterminding the bombing of the airliner.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi “showed no compassion” when he planted the bomb on the plane that blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 and “deserves no compassion today,” said Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat and chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, Florida Democrat and the commission co-chairman.

They said the families “had the right to expect that the man behind the senseless killings would never walk free again.”

“To those families, we extend deep sympathy and share their frustration and sense of betrayal,” they said.

Meanwhile, the families are planning to express their anger in a Sept. 23 protest at the United Nations, when Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is scheduled to speak.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week:


Mohamed Hassan, chairman and chief executive officer of EgyptAir, who signs an agreement with the Export-Import Bank, finalizing the financing of Egypt’s purchase of five Boeing 727-800s. Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry, bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, Astar Saleh of JP Morgan Chase and John Matthews of Boeing join Mr. Hassan at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony at the bank headquarters at 811 Vermont Ave. NW.


Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, and Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Center for Policy Alternatives of Sri Lanka. They discuss efforts to restore peace and promote reconciliation among the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil citizens in a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]

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