Nicholas Burns is Biden’s choice for US Ambassador to China.

Date:

The world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, are at odds over trade, technology, US arms sales to Taiwan, and Chinese military activity in the disputed South China Sea, accusing the other of deliberately provocative behaviour.

According to the White House, Burns, 65, is currently an international relations professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, according to Xinhua news agency.

In his 27 years of government service, he has held prominent posts in both Democratic and Republican administrations, culminating in his stint as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008; he was the State Department’s third-ranking official.

The White House announced on Friday that President Joe Biden had nominated veteran US diplomat Nicholas Burns to serve as US ambassador to China, indicating that the administration may be looking for the envoy to play a more central role in the increasingly fractious relations between the two global rivals.

Burns, a retired career foreign service officer who served as Under Secretary of State from 2005 to 2008, represents a transition in the function of the ambassador to Beijing, which has been replaced by former politicians rather than seasoned diplomats during the last decade.

Burns would go to China if confirmed by the Senate, at a time when the two nations’ relations are at an all-time low, and fill a role that has been empty since October, when former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, stepped down.

The world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, are at odds over trade, technology, US arms sales to Taiwan, and Chinese military activity in the disputed South China Sea, accusing the other of deliberately provocative behaviour.

Burns may not be regarded as an expert on China policy, but neither were Beijing’s last four US ambassadors.

On the other hand, Burns has worked closely with some of Biden’s most valued aides over the years, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and has acted as an adviser to his election campaign.

He was appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush as under-secretary for political affairs, the State Department’s third-ranking official with worldwide responsibility, where he served until 2008.

Rahm Emanuel, a former Chicago mayor and White House Chief of Staff under previous President Barack Obama, was also named Ambassador to Japan by Biden.

Emanuel, unlike Burns, is not a career diplomat.

Former Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel has tight relationships with several prominent people in the Biden White House, including Ron Klain, the current White House chief of staff.

Both nominations must be approved by the Senate.

Kanaka Yeldutti
Kanaka Yeldutti
Pursuing MA in mass communication at Pondicherry University. An avid writer, Blogger with a keen passion for Journalism. Areas of interest are sociocultural struggles, women-centric issues, economic inequality.

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