A week and a half into his post, Ambassador Jon Hunstman said global, “big-picture issues” were coming to define relations between Washington and Beijing. At the top of President Barack Obama’s instructions to him, he said, are shoring up the world economy, dealing with regional security troubles like Iran and Pakistan and securing an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to pave the way for a new worldwide global warming treaty.
Both governments will have ample opportunity to air their positions, from Chinese President Hu Jintao’s attendance at a summit of major economies in Pittsburgh later this month to Obama’s planned Beijing visit in November and meetings of officials in between, Huntsman said. Friction looms on trade disputes, including a White House decision on whether to impose punitive tariffs on surging imports of Chinese tires.
“We’ll put to the test the durability of the U.S.-China relationship over the coming months,” Hunstman said in an interview with U.S. reporters, his first with the American media since taking up his post.