ABC News' Kirit Radia (@kiritradia_abc) reports:
This afternoon at the State Department Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in Gary Locke as the next U.S. ambassador to China.
Locke pledged to strengthen Sino-American relations and to raise issues of concern when disagreements arise.
“I firmly believe that improved U.S.-china cooperation is critically important, not just for our own two countries, but for the world community,” he said.
“In those sensitive areas where America and China have differences or serious disagreement, I will work to keep the lines of communication open, to convey the administration’s positions clearly, and to engage with Chinese government officials at the highest levels. At the same time I hope to do more to communicate directly with the Chinese people to improve understanding between our two great nations,” Locke said shortly after taking the oath.
Locke previously served as President Obama’s Commerce Secretary and was nominated to succeed former Republican Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who left the post in Beijing earlier this year to mount his own presidential campaign.
Locke’s parents were born in China and he spoke today about what this position means for him.
“As the child of Chinese immigrants growing up in the state of Washington, having the opportunity to represent America, the land of my birth, and to represent American values are surely beyond any dream that I could possibly could have. I can only imagine just how proud my dad Jimmy, who passed away in January, would be for his son to be the first Chinese-American to represent the United States in the land of his and my mother’s birth,” he said today.
Prior to serving as Commerce Secretary, Locke was the governor of Washington for eight years and later supported Hillary Clinton’s bid for president.