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US envoys optimistic about Sino-US ties in Obama era
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Four US ambassadors in Beijing on Sunday eyed a continued China policy under the Obama administration.

"I am optimistic that US-China ties will continue to improve and remain steady in the years ahead. In fact, they are getting better," former US ambassador to China James Sasser told reporters on the sidelines of a reception marking the 30th anniversary of China-US diplomatic relations.

Sasser was one of about 200 personages from the two countries attending Sunday's reception, held in the US new embassy in Beijing.

Sasser, who served as ambassador from 1996 to 1999, said he didn't see "significant tensions" in current bilateral relations and believed there would be more improvements in the years ahead.

Echoing Sasser's view, another former US ambassador to Beijing Winston Lord said, "Overall, the American policy with China will remain essentially the same under the Obama administration."

"If you look at what Obama has been saying about US-China relations, look at what type of people he has been appointing to key foreign policy positions, these suggest great continuity," said Lord, who was one-time aide to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and part of the US delegation during Richard Nixon's ground-breaking visit to China in 1972.

"We had 7 presidents since President Nixon, both democratics and republicans. All of them have pursued essentially the same policy with respect to China," said Lord, who served as ambassador to China between 1985and 1989.

"It doesn't mean we won't have problems. But I think interests are much bigger than our problems," he said.

Stapleton Roy, who served as ambassador in Beijing from 1991 to 1996, said the Obama administration would continue to cooperate with China. "There are so many issues the two countries have to deal with in the world. The have to work together."

Looking to the future, Roy said the most serious issue the two countries have to deal with is the economic crisis. He called for the two countries to work more closely and take concerted actions.

"In 1979, who among us would have thought that 30 years later the United States and China would be meeting regularly on regional hot spots in third countries or they would be working together to deal with the world financial crisis," current US Ambassador in Beijing Clark Randt told the reception.

As a metric of the development of bilateral relations, Randt said there were 36 Americans working in the US embassy in Beijing in 1979.

"In October 2008, when we moved to this new building, we had a staff of 1,100, the second biggest US embassy in the world," Randt said.

"The new embassy itself was a tangible expression to the importance of the development of US-China relations, the most important bilateral relationship in the world."

As the world gets more complicated, Randt said interdependence and complementariness between the two countries would become even more important and the relationship would continue to get better.

(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2009)

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