Beijing's Brand Ambassador

A Conversation With Cui Tiankai

Cui Tiankai

  • Country: China
  • Title: Ambassador to the United States
  • Education: East China Normal University, Johns Hopkins University

Cui Tiankai, 60, arrived in Washington, D.C., on April 2 to take up his new post as China’s ambassador to the United States. A fluent English speaker with a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, Cui spent five years as a farm hand during the Cultural Revolution before entering Shanghai Normal University. During his extensive diplomatic career, he has also served as China’s ambassador to Japan and vice minister of foreign affairs. He spoke with Foreign Affairs managing editor Jonathan Tepperman in China’s new I. M. Pei–designed embassy a few weeks after presenting his credentials to President Barack Obama.

Having just arrived in Washington, what’s your assessment of the state of U.S.-Chinese relations? For the last four years or so, relations have been moving forward steadily, although we sometimes wish they could move even faster. President Hu Jintao and

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