US president to open embassy in Beijing
US President George W. Bush will open the new American embassy during his visit to Beijing next week for the Games, the Foreign Ministry confirmed yesterday, two days after Beijing opened its new embassy in Washington.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday that Mr Bush's attendance at the embassy opening would be a 'good thing'.
'This is not only about two embassy buildings; it also reflects the growing size of Sino-US relations,' Mr Liu said. 'Diplomatic personnel and officials from both countries will continue to work on developing healthy ... Sino-US relations. I hope the completion of the new embassies can provide further convenience to the two.'
The new 4-hectare US embassy site in Beijing's third diplomatic area along the Liangma River is reportedly the biggest construction project undertaken by the US State Department on foreign soil. It was designed by US architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the creative force behind the new Freedom Tower rising from the site of the World Trade Centre, New York, and Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai.
On Tuesday morning, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and other top US officials joined Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the opening of Beijing's new embassy, which Mr Yang called a landmark event.
It is 3km from the old site, but the move took a quarter of a century to realise, as some Chinese media emotionally put it.
Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the normalisation of Sino-US ties.