(KCPW News) Governor Jon Huntsman breezed through his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning, earning high praise from lawmakers. The nominee for U.S. Ambassador to China pledged to make human rights issues a regular topic of conversation with the Chinese.
“I hope that I can come back and report on ways in which we’ve been able to standardize and regularize our interaction on human rights issues generally, so that it isn’t a once-per-year discussion, but rather something that we’re able to engage in ongoing discussion on,” he said.
Huntsman also discussed environmental issues, saying he wants to build consensus with China on the science of climate change.
He said the U.S. has an opportunity to collaborate with China on furthering economic development in Africa, where the Chinese have tens of billions of dollars invested.
“It is an opportunity where the two of us can actually focus on a continent that is in need of economic growth, it’s in need of seed capital, it’s in need of the right kind of peaceful infrastructure investment that will bring stability longer-term to the continent,” said Huntsman. “That is an area, interestingly enough, that I’d very much like to explore with my Chinese counterparts.”
It’s expected that Huntsman will be confirmed as Ambassador to China by the foreign relations committee and the full Senate within the coming weeks. Afterwards, he will resign as Governor of Utah, being replaced by Lt. Governor Gary Herbert.