August 16, 2011

Biden takes off for Asia

Vice President Joe Biden took off Tuesday on a trip to China, Mongolia and Japan, his first to East Asia as vice president.

In China, he'll spend 4 days visiting Beijing, Chengdu and Dujiangyan City. Top on the agenda, visiting with Vice President Xi and developing relationships with the next generation of China's leaders.

In Mongolia, he'll spend a day visiting the capital of Ulaanbaatar, where he may be greeted with a demonstration of Mongolian sports including archery, horse racing and wrestling. "We're looking forward to that," said one aide.

Biden will be the first vice president to visit Mongolia since Henry Wallace in 1944.

Wrapping up with a two-day visit to Japan, Biden will go to Sendai, where U.S. forces helped reopen the airport after the earthquake this year.

July 27, 2011

Senate confirms Locke as ambassador to China

By unanimous consent, the Senate confirmed former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the new U.S. ambassador to China.

March 07, 2011

Obama to name Locke as ambassdor to China

President Barack Obama plans to name Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the son of Chinese immigrants, as the new ambassador to China, administration officials said Monday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would replace Amb. Jon Huntsman, who is resigning and who has said he might seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination to oppose Obama. Huntsman was the Republican governor of Utah when Obama tapped himto represent the US in Beijing.

January 19, 2011

Guest list for White House State Dinner

The guest list for tonight's State Dinner at the White House:



The Honorable Madeleine Albright, Washington, D.C.
    Ms. Alice Albright

Ms. Christiane Amanpour, ABC News, New York, NY
    Mr. James Rubin

The Honorable David Axelrod, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor
    Mrs. Susan Axelrod

Mr. Jeffrey Bader, National Security Council
    Ms. Rohini Talalla

The Honorable Elizabeth Bagley, Washington, D.C.
    Mr. Kevin Frawley

Mr. Steven Ballmer, Microsoft, Redmond, WA
    Mrs. Connie Ballmer

Ms. Bette Bao Lord, New York, NY
       The Honorable Winston Lord

Mrs. Denise Bauer, Belvedere Tiburon, CA

The Honorable Howard Berman, Representative from California
      Mrs. Janis Berman
Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
       Dr. Jill Biden

The Honorable Joseph Beau Biden, III, Attorney General of Delaware, Wilmington, DE
       Mrs. Hallie Biden

His Excellency Zheng Bijian, Chairman, CIIDS

His Excellency Dai Bingguo, State Councilor

Mr. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs, New York, NY
       Mrs. Laura Blankfein

The Honorable Antony Blinken, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, Office of the Vice President

The Honorable Stephen Breyer, United States Supreme Court
       Dr. Johanna Breyer

Mr. Greg Brown, Motorola, Schaumburg, IL
       Mrs. Anna-Louise Brown

The Honorable Dr. Zbigniew Brezezinski, McLean, VA
       Mrs. Emilie A. Brzezinski

The Honorable Kurt M. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
The Honorable Lael Brainard, Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs

The Honorable James E. Carter, former President of the United States
       Mrs. Rosalynn Carter

Mr. Jackie Chan, Beverly Hills, CA
       Mr. Phillip Button

The Honorable Elaine Chao, Washington, D.C.
       Dr. James Chao

His Excellency Wang Chao, Vice Minister for Commerce

His Excellency Tung Chee Hwa, Vice Chairman, CPPCC, former Hong Kong Chief Executive

Mr. John A. Chen, Chairman, Committee of 100, New York, NY
       Mrs. Sherrie Chen

The Honorable Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ
       Mrs. Mary Pat Christie

The Honorable Judy Chu, Representative from California
       Ms. Chiling Tong

The Honorable Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
       Mrs. Jean Chu

The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, Secretary of State

The Honorable William J. Clinton, former President of the United States

The Honorable James E. Clyburn, Representative from South Carolina
       Mr. John Clyburn

The Honorable Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago, Chicago, IL
       Mrs. Maggie Daley

The Honorable William Daley, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff
       Ms. Bernadette Keller

His Excellency Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce

Mr. Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase & Co., New York, NY
       Mrs. Judith Dimon

The Honorable Thomas Donilon, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor
       Ms. Cathy Russell, Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden

The Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education
       Mrs. Karen Duncan

Mr. James Fallows, The Atlantic, Washington, D.C.
       Mrs. Deborah Fallows

Mr. Xie Feng, Director General, MFA

Mr. Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, Washington, D.C.
       Mrs. Ann Friedman

The Honorable Michael B. Froman, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs
       Ms. Nancy Goodman

His Excellency Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology

The Honorable Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense
       Mrs. Becky Gates

The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
       Mrs. Carole Geithner

Mr. Mark Gilbert, Boca Raton, FL
       Mrs. Nancy Gilbert

The Honorable Chris Gregoire, Governor of Washington, Olympia, WA
       Ms. Courtney Gregoire

His Excellency Zhu Guangyao, Vice Minister for Finance

His Excellency Zhang Guobao, Vice Minister for NDRC

Mr. Herbie Hancock, Los Angeles, CA
      Mrs. GiGi Hancock

The Honorable Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology

The Honorable Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs

The Honorable Steny Hoyer, Representative from Maryland, Democratic WHIP

His Excellency Wang Huning, Director of the Policy Research Office of CCCPC

The Honorable Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to China
       Mrs. Mary Kaye Huntsman

Mr. Robert Iger, The Walt Disney Company, Burbank, CA
       Ms. Willow Bay

Mr. David Ignatius, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Eve Ignatius

Mr. Jeff Immelt, General Electric, Fairfield, CT
       Mrs. Andrea Immelt

The Honorable Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

His Excellency Li Jiaxiang, Vice Minister for Transportation

His Excellency Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs

His Excellency Ling Jihua, Director of the General Office of CCCPC

Mr. Robert Kagan, McLean, VA
       Ms. Victoria Nuland

Mr. Michael Kempner, East Rutherford, NJ
       Mrs. Jacqueline Kempner

Mr. Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola, Atlanta, GA

The Honorable John F. Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts
       Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry

Mr. Robert King, UAW, Detroit, MI
       Ms. Julie Kushner

The Honorable Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative
       Mrs. Matrice Ellis-Kirk

The Honorable Henry Kissinger, New York, NY
    Mrs. Nancy Kissinger

Mr. Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, Scarsdale, NY
       Ms. Sheryl WuDunn

Ms. Ellen Kullman, DuPont, Wilmington, DE
       Mr. Michael Kullman

Dr. Zhang Kunsheng, Director-General, Protocol Department

Ms. Michelle Kwan, Torrance, CA

Mr. Lang Lang, New York, NY
      Mrs. Zhou Xiulan

The Honorable Jacob Lew, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources

Ms. Maya Lin, New York, NY
       Mr. Daniel Wolf

Ms. Limin Liu, Reno, NV
       Dr. Hugh Shapiro

Mr. Andrew N. Liveris, The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI
       Mrs. Paula Liveris

The Honorable Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce
       Mrs. Mona Locke

The Honorable Christopher Lu, Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary
       Ms. Kathryn Thomson

The Honorable Richard Lugar, Senator from Indiana
       Mrs. Charlene Lugar

Mr. Yo Yo Ma, Burbank, CA
       Ms. Jill Hornor

The Honorable Capricia Marshall, Chief of Protocol, Department of State

Mr. W. James McNerney, The Boeing Company, Chicago, IL
       Mrs. Haity McNerney

Mr. Evan Medeiros, Director for Asian Affairs, NSS

His Excellency Jiang Mianheng, Vice Chairman, CAS

Mr. Mel Monzack, Wilmington, DE
       Mrs. Ann Monzack

Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Mrs. Wendi Deng Murdoch, New York, NY

Mr. James Murren, Las Vegas, NV
      Mrs. Heather Murren

The Honorable Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
       Ms. Virginia Moseley

Mr. Paul Otellini, Intel, Santa Clara, CA
       Mrs. Sandy Otellini

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Representative from California, Democratic Leader
       Mr. Paul Pelosi

His Excellency Zhang Ping, Minister of NDRC

The Honorable David Plouffe, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor
       Ms. Olivia Morgan

Mr. Tom Pritzker, Pritzker Organization, Chicago, IL
       Mrs. Margot Pritzker

His Excellency Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of the State Council

Ms. Jean Quan, Mayor of Oakland, CA
       The Honorable Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, CA

Ms. Azita Raji, JP Morgan Securities, Inc., Belvedere, CA
       Mr. Gary Syman

The Honorable Ben Rhodes, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting
       Ms. Ann Norris

The Honorable Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, New York, NY
       Mr. Ian Cameron

Mr. Robert Roche, Shanghai, CN

Mr. Kenneth Roth, The Human Rights Watch, Washington, D.C.
       Ms. Annie Sparrow

The Honorable Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President
       Ms. Courtney Chapin

Mr. David M. Rubenstein, The Carlyle Group, Washington, D.C.
       Mrs. Alice Rubenstein

Mr. Kirk Rudy, Austin, TX
       Mrs. Amy Rudy

The Honorable Brent Scowcroft, The Forum for International Policy, Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
       The Honorable Gary Sebelius

The Honorable Susan Sher, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady
       The Honorable Neil Cohen

Mr. Robert Sherman, Boston, MA
       Ms. Kim S. Sawyer

His Excellency Chen Shiju, Chief of the President’s Office

The Honorable George Shultz, Stanford, CA
       Mrs. Charlotte Shultz

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Culver City, CA
       The Honorable Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

The Honorable Gene Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy & Director of the National Economic Council
       Ms. Allison Abner

The Honorable Jim Steinberg, Deputy Secretary of State
    Ms. Sherburne B. Abbott

Ms. Barbra Streisand, Malibu, CA
Mr. James Brolin

The Honorable Tina Tchen, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement

Mr. John Thornton, The Brookings Institution, HSBC North America, Palm Beach, FL
       Mrs. Margaret Thornton

His Excellency Cui Tiankai, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

Dr. Stanley Toy, Jr., Pasadena, CA
       Ms. Lana Toy

Mr. Luis Ubinas, The Ford Foundation, New York, NY
       Dr. Deborah Tolman

Mr. Jose Villarreal, Commissioner General, Shanghai Expo, San Antonio, TX
       Ms. Sara Villarreal

Ms. Vera Wang, New York, NY
       Mr. Arthur Becker

Mr. Steve Westly, Menlo Park, CA
       Ms. Anita Yu

Ms. Anna Wintour, Vogue Magazine, New York, NY
       Mr. Shelby Bryan

Ms. Patricia A. Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland, Decatur, IL
       Mr. Kelvin R. Westbrook

Mr. B.D. Wong, New York, NY
       Mrs. Roberta Wong

Mr. Charles Woo, Mega Toys, Los Angeles, CA
       Mrs. Ying Woo

The Honorable David Wu, Representative from Oregon
       Ms. Anna Kopperud

His Excellency Xie Xuren, Minister of Finance

His Excellency Zhang Yesui, Chinese Ambassador to the United States
    Madam Chen Naiqing

His Excellency Sun Yibiao, Vice Minister for Customs

Goldman's Blankfein among Hu dinner guests

The usual suspects are there, of course: Madeleine Albright, Christiane Amanpour and hubby James Rubin, Supreme Court Justice Stepehen Breyer, martial arts movie star Jackie Chan, jazz legend Herbie Hancock.

But what's Lloyd Blankfein, chairman of Goldman-Sachs doing at the state dinner for the visiting Chinese chairman? Perhaps a secret investment deal for Facebook?

Read the full guest list here.

The official White House program for the dinner, with menu, can be found here.

January 10, 2011

White House gears up for Chinese President

As of now, there's been no change of plans for next week's state visit to Washington by Chinese Preisdent Hu Jintao. The White House this week will start ramping up for the visit.

Over the weekend, Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited China to discuss military-to-military ties. He’ll also stop in Japan and South Korea.

On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will give a speech about the US-China economic relationship. He’ll talk at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will talk to the U.S. - China Business Council about efforts to help business gain more access to Chinese markets.

And on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver a major address at the State Department that presents our broad vision of U.S. - China relations in the 21st century, including our efforts to make progress on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues.


December 09, 2010

Pelosi takes break from tax cut wars, heads for Oslo

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take a break from the tax cut wars Friday to head to Oslo, Norway, for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.

He was sentenced to 11 years in jail last year for "inciting subversion of state power” after authoring an online petition by Chinese citizens urging the Chinese government to ease its stands on democracy and human rights. He remains imprisoned.

 Pelosi has long been active in promoting human rights in China and Tibet. She had visited China last May and sought the release of Liu Xiaobo and others.

Next week, though, it's back to Congress. The Senate is expected to consider the tax cut bill, which extends all Bush-era cuts for two years, first, and the House of Representatives is expected to take it up early next week.

August 31, 2010

In Asia's mountains, most glaciers are shrinking

The U.S. Geological Survey has collaborated with Asian glaciologists for a new report on what's happening to the glaciers of Asia. Many are shrinking as a result of climate change.

"This retreat impacts water supplies to millions of people, increases the likelihood of outburst floods that threaten life and property in nearby areas, and contributes to sea-level rise," USGS said in a release.

"As glaciers become smaller, water runoff decreases, which is especially important during the dry season when other water sources are limited. Climate change also brings warmer temperatures and earlier water runoff from glaciers, and this combined with spring and summer rains can result in flood conditions. The overall glacier retreat and additional melt can increase the amount of water dammed in the vicinity of a glacier, and the added pressure enhances the likelihood of disastrous outburst flooding."

February 18, 2010

The Dalai Lama and Obama

The White House has released this photo of Obama meeting this morning with the Dalai Lama.

The meeting, which Obama postponed last year so as not to anger China, began at approximately 11:21 a.m. and ended at approximately 12:31 p.m. White House officials present were Valerie Jarrett, Jeff Bader (senior director for Asian Affairs, National Security Council) and Evan Medeiros (director for Asian Affairs, National Security Council).

Here's what White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said about the meeting:

“The President met this morning at the White House with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. The President stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China. The President commended the Dalai Lama’s 'Middle Way' approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government. The President stressed that he has consistently encouraged both sides to engage in direct dialogue to resolve differences and was pleased to hear about the recent resumption of talks. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and cooperative relationship between the United States and China.”

Later, the Dalai Lama held his own news conference — outdoors at the Park Hyatt Hotel near the White House. The Dalai Lama wore only his traditional robe, so his arms and head were bare in the 40-degree weather, McClatchy's Margaret Talev reports.

In addition to Tibet and China, the Dalai Lama said that he and the president talked about Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Obama's role as the first non-white to hold the presidency. They also discussed the importance of religious harmony and freedom and agreed that "females are more sensitive about others' pain and suffering."

Asked about China's likely reaction to the meeting, the Dalai Lama said he expected there would be criticism and some "scolding." Then he laughed.

"Fifty years have passed," he said, referring to his exile. "We never give up our hope."

December 18, 2009

Obama huddles with Chinese premier

President Obama met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao 55 minutes and “made progress” on climate change, a White House official said.

The official called the discussion “constructive,” and said that the two men touched on all of the three issues which Mr. Obama raised during his speech: emissions goals from all key countries, verification mechanism, and financing.

Obama and Wen asked their negotiators to get together one-on-one after the meeting, as well as with other countries, “to see if an agreement can be reached,” the White House official said.
Asked if the two had achieved a breakthrough, the official said “they took a step forward and made progress.”


"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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