- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009

‘BRAVEST SOULS’

The Afghan ambassador marked Veterans Day by thanking the American troops who have fought and died to liberate his homeland.

“As we honor the bravest of souls this Veterans Day, I would like to express my unwavering gratitude and sincerest thank you for their service,” Ambassador Said T. Jawad said.

“Afghans have been fortunate to enjoy tremendous support from many great American veterans. In the example of such tremendous dedication, our country strives toward independence and equality for all.”

Mr. Jawad also expressed his condolences to relatives of more than 800 American troops who have died in Afghanistan since the United States routed the Taliban in 2001 for sheltering al Qaeda militants responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“To the families of those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan, words cannot express my gratitude for the service of your family member,” he said. “Your soldiers are heroes, and the courage these men and women have demonstrated fighting and dying for honor, democracy and freedom the world over is immeasurable.”

Mr. Jawad assured the families that Afghans will never forget their sacrifice.

“This Veterans Day, Afghans the world over join our American partners in keeping our hearts and minds with all the soldiers who have fallen and strive to reflect in our actions the gratitude that these heroes have profoundly earned,” he said.

HYPING HOPE

Ambassadors in Washington and Beijing this week expressed great hopes for President Obama’s visit to China next week and downplayed recent trade spats between the nations.

In China on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. said the visit to Beijing for talks with President Hu Jintao is “really the central piece” of Mr. Obama’s trip to Asia, during which he will also visit Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Mr. Huntsman said the two leaders will discuss the global economic crisis, free trade, security and energy issues, including climate change.

Mr. Obama also plans to visit the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace that served Chinese emperors for nearly 700 years.

The ambassador dismissed recent trade disputes, including Mr. Obama’s decision to slap a 35 percent tariff on Chinese tires. China exported 48 million tires to the United States last year.

“You can’t expect a relationship this size to be free and devoid of such issues,” he told reporters, adding that disputes are settled in a “rules-based system” such as the World Trade Organization.

“Our growth over the last 30 years has brought us to the point where we can manage these challenges without poisoning or affecting the totality of our bilateral relationship,” he added.

In Washington, Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong told China Central Television that he expects “concrete” achievements during the visit.

“I believe through this visit, Sino-U.S. relations will be deepened on the basis of building positive, cooperative relations outlined by the leaders of the two countries,” he said. “So I think the visit is of great importance to the development of bilateral ties.”

Mr. Zhou said he expects Mr. Obama and Mr. Hu will have special discussions on energy issues.

“The two sides have been in talks on cooperation in the field of new energy,” he said. “We are also engaged in talks on environmental protection. So I think both sides will feel happy and satisfied.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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