That's the kind of ambassador we need in China — an ambassador who has a respect for China's proud traditions, who understands what it will take to make America more competitive in the 21st century, and who will be an unstinting advocate for America's interests and ideals. With Jon Huntsman representing the United States in China, I'm confident that we will launch a new era of partnership between our two nations that will advance our shared dreams of opportunity and security in America, in Asia, and around the world.
So I'm extraordinarily pleased to announce that Jon Huntsman will be our ambassador to China, and I can think of no more important assignment than creating the kinds of bridges between our two countries that will determine the well-being not just of Americans and Chinese, but also the future of the world.
So, with that, I'd like to have Jon say a few words. Thank you, Jon.
GOVERNOR HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
GOVERNOR HUNTSMAN: Well, Mr. President, thank you for those very kind and gracious words. I never expected to be standing here under the inquisitive gaze of George Washington, and equally inquisitive gaze of my wife. Nor did I expect, as national co-chair of Senator McCain's presidential campaign, to be called into action by the person who beat us.
But I grew up understanding that the most basic responsibility one has is service to country. When the President of the United States asks you to step up and serve in a capacity like this, that, to me, is the end of the conversation and the beginning of the obligation to rise to the challenge.
I stand here in my final term as governor with plenty to do. I wasn't looking for a new job in life, but a call from the President changed that.
So, Mr. President, I humbly accept your call to service, and I understand that doing so will carry with it some unique challenges.
So, first and foremost, I want to recognize my wife and best friend, Mary Kaye, and my family, many of whom are here today, who have always been willing to heed the call of public service. I am here today solely as a result of their love and support.
Second, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the people of the greatest state in America. Life's greatest honor has been to serve the people of Utah as their 16th governor.
Finally, I must thank you, Mr. President, for your trust and confidence in me and my family's ability to contribute meaningfully to one of America's most important strategic bilateral relationships. You have my commitment that we will take the U.S.-China relationship to new heights, focused not just on that which divides us, but more importantly, on that which unites us, knowing that this will be critical for lasting peace and prosperity for citizens on both sides of the Pacific.
I'm reminded of my favorite Chinese aphorism. It goes something like this: (Speaks in Mandarin Chinese.) "Together we work, together we progress." This, more than anything else, I think captures the spirit of our journey going forward.
Thank you so very much.
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