Senators praise Obama pick to be US envoy to China

Sunday, July 26, 2009

WASHINGTON: Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said Thursday he would work with the Chinese government to shore up the global economy and to persuade the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to abandon its nuclear weapons effort if he is confirmed as ambassador to China.
US President Barack Obama chats with Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, whom he nominated as the next US ambassador to China, at the White House in May. [Agencies]
Huntsman also promised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to pursue human rights issues and to encourage China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said he was encouraged by the recent relaxation in tensions between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
Huntsman indicated he intends to emphasis the opportunities for trade in emissions control and renewable energy technologies in his talks with Chinese officials on global warming.
"I know what a market opportunity this is going to be for us," Huntsman said.
He noted the US and China together account for nearly half the world's greenhouse gas emissions. If the two countries cannot tackle the problem, "no one is going to do it for us," he said.
Senators were so lavish in their praise for Huntsman that the nominee quipped he hopes he does as well at his funeral.
Committee chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., said the nomination of Huntsman -- a Republican -- by President Barack Obama honors the best tradition of bipartisanship in foreign policy.
Huntsman is considered a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012. He is a former ambassador to Singapore, has led trade missions to China and has two adopted daughters, one from China and one from India.
After the hearing, Huntsman was mobbed by Chinese news media. He answered their questions in Mandarin. When a Utah reporter asked him what he had said, he replied: "I told them Utah was the best state in the United States."


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