U.S. Embassy in China Prepares for Secretary Clinton Visit

Posted by Daniel Piccuta
February 19, 2009
People Riding Bicycles China

About the Author: Dan Piccuta serves as the Charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China.Related Entry:"Preparing for Secretary Clinton's Visit: From the Advance Team to Wheels-Up" by Deputy Political Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing Ben Moeling.

Arriving at work the other day I could not help but notice ahead a foreigner merrily pedaling his local Chinese bicycle (Flying Pigeon brand) into the U.S. Embassy compound just ahead of me. I laugh as I realize the foreigner arriving on the "bike of the masses" is our American SecState visit's Overall Control Officer, Ben Moeling.

For those not familiar with how high level visits are organized, beneath the Chief of Mission (me) and his Deputy, the one person most responsible for every aspect of a visit's planning and preparation is the Overall Control Officer. And, this being Secretary Clinton's first trip as Secretary, and first visit in that capacity to China, we are approaching every site and event with fresh eyes -- meaning more preparation, more details, and more effort. Ben probably has over 100 American and Chinese employees working on preparations of every aspect of the visit from the airport arrival to the tour of a highly-efficient natural gas-fired power plant.

So my first reaction is amusement as I consider the irony of the American officer (of 350 assigned here) with the biggest role and the most to do that day calmly pedaling his bike a few kilometers to work. And then another thought comes to me: how appropriate that for a trip on which we hope climate cooperation, energy efficiency and the environment will be key themes, the American officer charged to prepare the visit is doing his part with a "green" morning commute by bike.



February 20, 2009

Sunshine in China writes:

Welcome to China!

New Jersey, USA
February 20, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

LOL! When Nixon went to China, there were a few buses and thousands of Chinese people riding bikes to work. Now the Chinese are driving cars, and the American officer in control of the visit is riding he Chinese bike!

Maryland, USA
February 21, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

It is good to see that people are still riding bikes to work. It's a good way to wake up and exercise at the same time. I like the name of your bikes "Flying Pigeons" it sounds kewl. Dan i think you did a great job, and I like the photo's you uploaded. I think Ben M. is setting a good example of clean energy. :) It looks like Hillary’s visit went Great. I'm happy that your plans for her visit worked out so well. keep up the good work ,I hope you had a party after she left for all the people that made her visit so Good. Cya :)

Massachusetts, USA
February 22, 2009

Justin in Massachusetts writes:

Woo hoo! Yup, that's my brother! He rocks! You couldn't have a better person in charge!

Connecticut, USA
February 22, 2009

Tom in Connecticut writes:

Three cheers for Ben!!!

Regards, Tom

Pasquale B.
February 25, 2009

Pasquale in Italy writes:

Hi Dan,

Guess who saw you on TV last week sitting close to SecState Hillary Clinton?....Pasquale B. The retired Financial Specialist from Luxembourg. It was nice to see you again. You look great. I'm still enjoying my retirement here. I'm working part-time, and I spend the rest of time gardening, playing tennis and visiting Italy and South of France. Hope that you and your wife are fine. Please let us know if you come close by. I'll be glad to cook some spaghetti for you. Ciao.


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