About the Author: Richard Buangan serves as the Deputy Press Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.Related Entry: First Strategic and Economic Dialogue Elevates U.S.-China Relationship
Credit for a successful U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) doesn’t belong just to the policymakers. July 27-28, the two days of the S&ED, were filled with fast-pace negotiations and last minute press briefing by both sides. To accommodate the hundreds of U.S. and Chinese negotiators and journalists that converged on Washington to cover the S&ED, some rooms in the State Department were transformed into special negotiation rooms, press briefing rooms, and break rooms for the Chinese and U.S. delegations. Special signs were created bearing a unique S&ED logo that directed participants in English and Chinese to various locations. The entire ornate 8th floor Diplomatic Reception Rooms were opened up for an elaborate dinner hosted by Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner in honor of their counterparts Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, State Councilor Dai Bingguo and over 200 guests representing the depth and breadth of the U.S.-China relationship. State Department workers and volunteers labored day and night to build stages, set up conference tables, decorate floral arrangements, and simply direct visitors to all the open spaces where delegates from both sides were allowed to roam free. Even members of the media representing both countries were given their own press filing center complete with full internet access, technical support, and even a food counter.
It was a shining example of the State Department putting it best foot forward to make visitors feel welcome and providing an environment conducive to diplomacy and the art of negotiation.