New US ambassador to China takes up post

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U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke speaks in the courtyard of his residence in Beijing, China, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011. Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Locke said Beijing and Washington should work together more to tackle global problems, and that he will try to promote greater understanding between the two nations. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — The new U.S. ambassador to China, the first Chinese-American to take up the post, said Sunday that the two countries could solve many of the world's problems if their governments work together more.

At a news briefing with his family by his side, Gary Locke said the two countries could provide global leadership. He did not directly mention the bilateral issues that are likely to feature in talks between the two, such as human rights and trade.

Locke's previous role as U.S. commerce secretary was one that involved heavy interaction with China — the U.S.'s largest trade partner — and often involved conflicts over trade barriers, protectionism and currency issues.

Locke said Sunday that his priority was to promote understanding between the two nations.

"Certainly there are many challenges facing both China and America," he said. "But if our people, our business people, our scientists, our students can really join together, we can solve not just the challenges and problems facing each of our countries, we can actually solve many of the problems facing the entire world."

He also said the U.S. was working to get its financial house in order.

"We note that over the last several days more people are buying U.S. treasuries so it's a clear indication that investment in the United States is safe, secure and that the economy, while having its challenges, is still strong," he said. China holds the largest amount of U.S. Treasury debt.

Locke said he was "humbled and honored" to be the first Chinese American to represent the U.S. in the land of his parents' birth. Locke was born in Washington State to parents who had both immigrated from China.

He replaces Jon Huntsman, who left in April to explore a presidential bid.

Locke's first big event will be the visit of Vice President Joe Biden to China that begins Tuesday.