After arriving in New York on Tuesday, China’s new ambassador issued a plea to “safeguard the interests of China,” as stated in a statement issued by the Chinese embassy in the United States.
After a vacancy of almost six months, China finally appointed Xie Feng as its ambassador to the United States. His most recent position was that of deputy foreign minister.
On Tuesday, Xie said the bilateral relationship confronts “serious difficulties and challenges,” and that his goal is to “enhance China-U.S. exchanges and cooperation,” as the statement put it.
CNBC sought comment from the U.S. Department of State, but did not get a prompt response.
Former ambassador Qin Gang was elevated to foreign minister of China in December. This month, Qin met Nicholas Burns, the new U.S. ambassador to China, for the first time in Beijing.
In February, the U.S. shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon over American territory, raising tensions between the two nations. After the balloon incident, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken chose to delay his travel to Beijing, which had been scheduled for about that time.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden predicted over the weekend that relations will “begin to thaw very shortly.”
Biden told reporters during the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan, “We’re not looking to decouple from China, we’re looking to de-risk and diversify our relationship with China,” as reported by the White House.