Secretary Clinton Arrives in Beijing

Posted by Ben Moeling
February 20, 2009
Secretary Clinton Arrives in Beijing, China

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.

Secretary Clinton arrived in Beijing on a cold February night after a full day in Korea. Two senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were on hand to greet her officially, but hundreds of millions of Chinese people were also eagerly tuned in. The Secretary, or "Xi-la-li" as everyone in China refers to her with a tone both of familiarity and respect, is famous in China. Speculation about her visit has been intense. Almost every Embassy officer, from vice consuls to the Charge d'Affaires, has received inquiries about her upcoming visit. Our Political, Economic, and Environment, Science, Technology and Health sections have been working for weeks with our Chinese counterparts on the arrangements. Finally, it's game day. The Embassy is ready. Press from all over the world have gathered. The Chinese government is giving her an exceptionally warm welcome, and tomorrow she will meet with the President, Premier, State Councilor and Foreign Minister.

The warm response to Secretary Clinton's first trip to China is literally overwhelming. Already, we've had to improvise. Our carefully arranged plan for her to meet the staff and families of U.S. Embassy employees had to be scrapped just yesterday because the number of RSVPs shot past the maximum occupancy of the venue we'd selected for the event. Despite the fact that the Secretary's only available window is late on a Saturday afternoon, 430 people have already said they plan to come back to the office to see her.

I have noticed an incredible energy in the team that has come together to plan and execute this visit. This is not my first "S visit," and I am used to working with dedicated and professional colleagues, but this is somehow different. Everyone is so deeply invested in the success of this visit, no matter how big his or her job. Dozens of people have come up to me and volunteered to assist. I am excited, proud (and a little awed) to be part of it myself. Tomorrow is going to be a big day in U.S.-China relations.



February 20, 2009

Tenzin writes:

I am glad that chinese had welcomed warm to the secretary but i wish the secretary would push the Human rights before everything else. People are dying out there with their outdated policies in Tibet and xinjiang. I hope the secretary would really show some move here.

New Jersey, USA
February 20, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Ben, thanks for this post. It's very exciting to know that Hillary is getting such a wonderful reception both from the people and government of China and from her own Embassy colleagues and their families.

She clearly is as much of an inspiration abroad on international issues as she has proven herself to be here at home on domestic ones. We love her here, and we are so proud to see her blazing new diplomatic trails. Her people to people approach showcases her special gift for relating to people on a personal level.

Hillary, so refreshing to her new global audience, is very much appreciated on these social networks. We missed her blogs and tweets. It's great to hear from and about her - again!

California, USA
February 21, 2009

Jonathan in California writes:

Thanks for keeping us updated on the blog. I wish I could be there!

Normita F.
California, USA
February 21, 2009

Normita and Robert in California writes:

Madame Secretary, you are just awesome. You represent us to the world with your grace, courage and compassion. We are so proud of you! God bless you and God bless America.

California, USA
February 21, 2009

Amazonia in California writes:

Our one and only Madam Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We're so proud of her!

Tennessee, USA
February 21, 2009

Jake in Tennessee writes:

Have to love this comment.

"Human rights cannot interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crises."

I see where Clinton's priorities are. Screw people, money comes first.

February 22, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Jake in Tennessee -- No Jake! Madame Secretary probably means that we must never forget our primary goal to secure and develop "human rights" idea all over the world, no matter the difficulties.

At least that's what I understand as a "foreign language reader" from just a sentence obviously coming out from a "whole text."

But, what I surely understand is that words like "screw" should be kept out of the best diplomatic forum in the world.

We are not talking in a street market.

Nevada, USA
February 22, 2009

Annie in Nevada writes:

She is our saving grace. It is she who should be president now, leading this great nation through its troubled waters. However, I sleep better at night, knowing she is there to improve relations around the world. I pray that one day Hillary gets the chance to lead this nation out of the quagmire in which we currently find ourselves (after The Great Fraud has had his moment of "historical" importance). He can have all the coins, plates, flags, etc, and she can have the accolades for experience and a job executed with brilliance. She's the real deal.

Washington, USA
February 22, 2009

Cindy in Washington writes:

All of you who are bellyaching about the human rights comment have to realize a couple things -

First - she is duty bound to represent Obama's priorities - and maybe those are not his priorities -

Second - trust her - she is brilliant - she knows how to get where she needs to go - and if she needs to get at the human rights issues in another way - maybe by first developing some modicum of trust with the Chinese - she is the best one to figure that out.

In the long run, though, unless we develop some peace in the world and with other countries, and start to fix the immediate crisis of economies and destruction of our planet, human rights will crumble along with everything else on this earth.

February 22, 2009

Ron in Canada writes:

For those of you on your high horse (Jake in Tennessee) about human rights, take a good long look in the mirror before criticizing Sec. Clinton for focusing on economic issues over human rights at this time.

Why is it that so many Americans think they have cornered the market on protecting human rights? Just take a look at the horrible conditions some Native Americans have to live under every day. How about poverty and crime in the African-American communities around the U.S.?

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. At this moment people need to get back to work and stay living in their homes. Putting food on the table to feed one's children is the most pressing need right now. Human rights will always be a priority for the entire world so just zip it and work with Sec. Clinton and the new administration instead of constanly criticizing from your armchairs.

Massachusetts, USA
February 23, 2009

Wednesday in Massachusetts writes:

I had to escape from my own country Tibet. I can not thank enough to U.S.A. for allowing me to stay and call this my home. I became a proud U.S. citizen in 1994. I do my civil duties with honor, pay my taxes in time, try my best to raise my two sons as a good citizen. Each and everyday, I treasure and cherish the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of religion this country provide. There is no price for all of these whatsoever. On the flip side of the coin, people in China and Tibet with no doubt have none of it. Tibet is closed to the world while Mrs. Clinton was in China with the fear that undecleared martial law, torture, suppression, cry for freedom by Tibetans in Tibet would be heard by the world. Millions of people around the globe who yarn for freedom or basic human right once got shut down by Mrs. Clinton. I have been democrat since I became U.S. citizen and voted for my party. I regred that I did not vote for republicans last election. What a disgraceful Secretary of States my country has who value human right secondary. Shame of you Mrs. Clinton.

March 5, 2009

Qayyum in Pakistan writes:


Secretary Clinton's uncommon competence clinched her the first foreign policy conquest within few hours of taking Oath as SoS.

For details please read Foster Klug's story "Under Obama, U.S.-China Ties May Face Shaky Start" -ABC News - January 24, 2009 and for the comments of this scribe please click

Couple of considerably consequential issues concerning China had arisen, even before Hillary's assuming the charge as SoS. First: From Obama's Inaugural Address -- as he spoke of how earlier generations of Americans had "faced down facism and communism", China's state broadcaster quickly faded out the audio of its live broadcast, the camera cutting back to a flustered studio anchor. This, though appears to be an obvious instant individual act and does not merit to be taken as China's cool and considered response. President Obama and his concerned talented team members can not be expected to even contemplate resorting to confronting China yet at that stage of their administration. This very thought, however, could have been expressed ensuring exclusion of China or the word communism's any oblique reflection in any way on China.

Second: Obama's choice to lead the Treasury Department, Timothy Geithner wrote that Obama believes that China is 'manipulating its currency which American manufacturers say Beijing does to make its goods cheaper for U.S. consumers and American products expensive in China.

Based on perhaps these issues Foster captioned his story and added 'Crucial U.S.-China ties may face a rocky start early in Obama Administration'.

Secretary Clinton, after taking over as SoS expunged the antagonistic reflections, if any of either issues, through her short, but striking single line statement -- "No nation is more important to the United States than China." Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi's statement "Beijing was committed to working with the Obama Administration to strengthen ties and cooperation", ratifies the first foreign policy conquest of Secretary Clinton.

As regards Hillary's first visit to Asia, the entire world has witnessed her SPEAKING with her rare ingenuity through LISTENING and her listening too is literally listened to yet intently and ingratiatingly.

Sterling wishes to Secretary Clinton for enviable accomplishments of her untiring travail and toil !


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