U.S. ambassador in Beijing Gary Locke said it is possible for the two biggest economies in the world to find a common ground despite the political and economic strains even as he assured China about the safety of its investments in dollars.
Locke often chided the trade policies of China when he was still U.S. commerce secretary but he gave a message of potential cooperation during his first media appearance as ambassador in Beijing. Locke’s ancestors came from China.
“The United States and China have a profoundly important and complex diplomatic and economic relationship, one with challenges, to be sure, but which also holds great promise for expanded cooperation and collaboration,” Locke told reporters.
Washington has been accused by Chinese state media of reckless fiscal policies, since its credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, resulting to uncertainties in the big dollar asset holdings of Beijing. Analysts estimate that up to two-thirds of its $3.2 trillion foreign exchange reserves are in dollars, making Beijing the biggest foreign creditor of the United States.
Locke said there are still buyers for the U.S. treasury bonds despite the downgrade which is proof of the credit worthiness of the US, and said President Barack Obama and Congress has mapped out a “path ensuring fiscal integrity of the United States.”
“It’s a clear indication that investment in the United States is safe, secure and that the economy, while having its challenges, is still strong,” he said.
“We have this opportunity as two great nations to provide the leadership for the entire world,” Locke said.
Locke already made a splash on Chinese Internet even before he arrived in Beijing after photos showed him lining up at a Seattle airport coffee shop without an entourage of secretaries and bodyguards as expected by the Chinese.
“We look forward to using all forms of communications, including blogging and the electronic media,” Locke said when asked if the would take advantage of China’s Internet to talk to the users directly.
Locke has pledged to press the opening of China’s market to more goods and services from the U.S., step up action against American products counterfeiting and move to a more flexible currency exchange rate.