Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke on August 1, 2011. Secretary Clinton said:
"It goes pretty much without saying, but I will say it anyway, that our relationship with China is an extraordinarily important one that we think has a great substance to it and a great deal to what kind of future we will enjoy together in the 21st century. We are two complex, large nations with different histories and different political systems, but we know the importance of getting to know one another better, working together, solving problems together, and that is what we have been committed to doing.
"And I am confident that we have the right person in Gary Locke to follow through on the commitment made by President Obama and President Hu Jintao to a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship. Gary is going to Beijing at a time when there will be a lot of work for us to do to follow up on with the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, that there will be many difficult issues and challenges to face. But I know that Gary is more than ready to tackle that."
She continued, "...[T]hink about the story that Gary takes with him, the son of an immigrant family from China who didn't learn to speak English until he started school, whose grandfather came to the United States from China in the 1890s and worked as a house servant in return for English lessons, whose father and mother worked in their mom-and-pop grocery seven days a week, 365 days a year, so their five children would have better lives. The Locke family understood what the American dream meant. They knew that it was an opportunity and not a guarantee, and that they had to do their part to be able to take advantage of what this country offered.
"And Gary did -- an honor student, an Eagle Scout, scholarships, all kinds of experiences at Yale and getting his law degree at Boston University, and then returning to Washington to become a state representative and a county executive of King County and a two-time governor of Washington State, until recently, when he became our Secretary of Commerce.
"And Gary's hard work didn't just help his family. He helped improve the lives of the people of Washington and of the United States. He was a great job creator in Washington during two national recessions. He has helped to lead our efforts to increase U.S. exports. He has brought the Census in on time and under budget, an unheard of accomplishment. He's brought comprehensive patent reform legislation closer to passage than it has in decades. And there's just so much else that can be pointed to in such a history of distinction in his many public service responsibilities. And now, he becomes the first Chinese American to represent the United States as ambassador in Beijing."
In closing, she said, "...I know it's not easy, but I believe you're going to have an amazing experience, and I know how much it will mean to the people of China to meet all of you as well."
After taking the oath, Ambassador Locke delivered remarks as well. He said, "I'm really deeply humbled and honored to become the next United States ambassador to the People's Republic of China. And I'd like to thank President Obama, Secretary Clinton, the United States Senate, for their support, their confidence, and their trust in me. I also want recognize and thank Charge d'Affaires Deng from the People's Republic of China, and many other friends and colleagues who are here today. With my family -- my wife Mona and our children Emily, Dylan, and Madeline -- we're excited to have this opportunity to serve the President and the people of the United States of America.
"The United States and China have a profoundly important and complex diplomatic, economic, and strategic bilateral relationship -- one with challenges, no question, but one which also holds great promise for extended cooperation and collaboration. I look forward to working with the Chinese Government to fulfill that promise, but more importantly, to build the positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship that President Obama and President Hu have agreed that our two countries should aspire to. We are already seeing examples of how this future can play out as our businesses and our governments collaborate to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges. And I fully intend to support our ongoing bilateral and cooperative efforts on a host of critical international issues from climate change to the search for new, cleaner sources of energy, to stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials, and to promote new areas of collaboration.
"It's been my good fortune over the past decade to have had the opportunity to visit and meet with many Chinese Government officials and private sector executives in support of greater commercial cooperation and market access for U.S. goods and services. I look forward to continuing this dialogue, creating win-win scenarios for both of our countries, because American businesses and workers can help China meet its goals of modernization as well as improving the quality of life for the Chinese people, all at the same time creating jobs here at home for workers of America.
"In those sensitive areas where America and China have differences or serious disagreement, I will work to keep the lines of communication open, to convey the Administration's positions clearly, and to engage with Chinese Government officials at the highest levels. At the same time, I hope to do more to communicate directly with the Chinese people to improve understanding between our two great nations.
"I firmly believe improved U.S.-China cooperation is critically important, not just for our own two countries but for the world community. As a child of Chinese immigrants growing up in the State of Washington, having the opportunity to represent America, the land of my birth, and to represent American values was surely beyond any dream I could possibly have. And I can only imagine just how proud my dad, Jimmy, who passed away in January, would be for his son to be the first Chinese American to represent the United States in the land of his and my mother's birth. It may be cliche to say only in America, but in this case and for this role, it is both profoundly true and profoundly important. It is America and America's promise as a land of freedom, equality, and opportunity that I will represent when serving the President and the American people as the United States ambassador to China."
You can read a transcript of Secretary Clinton's and Ambassador Locke's remarks here.