Preparing for Secretary Clinton's Visit: From the Advance Team to Wheels-Up

Posted by Ben Moeling
February 20, 2009
Rendering of Beijing New Embassy Compound at Nighttime

About the Author: Ben Moeling serves as the Deputy Political Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China and Overall Control Officer for Secretary Clinton's Visit.Related Entry:"U.S. Embassy in China Prepares for Secretary Clinton Visit" by U.S. Charge d'affaires in Beijing Dan Piccuta.

As I ride my Chinese bike into work, the way I do most days, I'm thinking about a hundred details related to the Secretary's visit. The arrival of the advance team was pushed up by three days, which is good in that it allows more time to plan together but bad because Embassy Beijing likes to have things squared away before the advance arrives. It's a point of pride, and now they're going to see us before we have a chance to get "cleaned up for company."

With plenty of time before "S" arrives, we are doing pretty well. We have a well-developed schedule, the Secretary's vision for the trip is clear to everyone involved, and the Chinese government is as motivated as we are to make the visit a success. I'm optimistic about the overall picture, but still concerned about the details -- which I should be, because looking after them is my job. In particular, I am worried about synchronizing all events. We have some of the U.S. government's best and brightest working on those separate but interconnected parts of the visit, so I am confident we'll succeed.

I pull up to the garage entrance. The Charge[d'affaires] gives me a shout as he gets of his car, and we walk into the Embassy together. This gives me a chance to brief him on the calls I got from Washington the previous evening and that morning. We plan an all-hands countdown meeting for the afternoon, and he reminds me we need to think about the "wheels-up" party we're going to throw after the Secretary's departure to thank all the people who worked so hard on the visit. Great point.

Comments

Comments

Sally
|
Texas, USA
February 20, 2009

Sally in Texas writes:

How exciting!

I'm looking forward to news describing the events after Secretary Clinton's arrival and want to thank those responsible at DIPNOTE for the updates on the Secretary's various activities during her Asia trip.

I suspect the media accompanying Secretary Clinton will have a Wheels-Down party once they make the final landing in the States. I've read she has exhausted them.

That's our gal!

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
February 20, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Well, Ben, thanks for working so hard for our Hillary and for all of us. When those wheels lift, we will be ready to welcome our girl back after a wonderfully successful trip due to her hard work and all of yours!

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
February 21, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

@ Sally in Texas -- LOL - "That's our gal" is right! She's an energizer bunny.

Jonathan
|
California, USA
February 21, 2009

Jonathan in California writes:

The new American Embassy in Beijing is quite unique in its size, modernity, security, and symbolism. Second in size only to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, this massive structure really shows the world how dedicated the Americans are to maintaining positive, strong relations with the People's Republic of China. This is an exciting time to be looking at U.S.-P.R.C. relations!

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