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'New normal' focus for new consul general in New York

By Zhang Yuwei and Niu Yue in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2014-12-30 12:41

China's economic "new normal" will make public diplomacy crucial in relations with other countries, the new Chinese consul general of New York said Monday.

"As the Consul General of China in New York responsible for 10 states in the Northeastern US, I feel a big responsibility on me, especially during a time when relations between China and the world have changed tremendously, with China's rapid economic development entering a 'new normal', " said Consul General Zhang Qiyue. Zhang, who will help serve 1.2 million Chinese in the 10-state region, spoke to a small group of Chinese journalists at John F. Kennedy International Airport upon her arrival.

The new dynamic will bring more people-to-people exchanges and wider cooperation between China and the world, where diplomacy will play an important role, said Zhang, who arrived on a flight from Beijing.

Born in 1959 to a family of diplomats in Beijing, Zhang has broad experience in international affairs and multilateral diplomacy. She began her career by working for four years as a simultaneous interpreter at United Nations headquarters in New York and in Geneva, after graduating from Beijing Foreign Studies University in the early 1980s.

Zhang's career reached a new phase when she was appointed spokeswoman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, a post she held for six years since 1998. She was the third spokeswoman in the ministry's history.

Zhang took part in numerous international negotiations and consultations as a member and adviser of the Chinese delegation during her time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Zhang and her father have served as political counselors in the Permanent Mission of China to the UN and as ambassadors to Belgium.

The Chinese Consulate General in New York has stepped up efforts to bring the Chinese community and mainstream society closer by organizing many events in recent years. The seasoned diplomat said the consulate will continue to serve overseas Chinese with timely service and support.

"We must ensure the safety of Chinese enterprises and citizens, and provide necessary assistance to local Chinese immigrants and expats and provide Chinese working or studying here in the US all kinds of support," Zhang told reporters.

Zhang was warmly received by community leaders, with more than 30 representatives from local Chinese communities greeting her at the airport.

"I am very excited about her arrival, especially because she is the first female consul general in New York," said Wendy Xiang, vice-president of the United Chinese Association of the Eastern US. "I am also very looking forward to making the whole Chinese community and associations here better under her leadership," said Xiang.

Chen Xueshun, president of the Fujian American Association, said members from his association are delighted to have Zhang as the new consul general, who, they hope, will bring more expat organizations together in the US.

"We believe she will connect Chinese communities here and make her contribution in building the US-China relationship," Chen said.

Lu Huiquan contributed to this story.

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 'New normal' focus for new consul general in New York

Zhang Qiyue, the new consul general of China in New York, arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Monday. Lu Huiquan / for China Daily

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