Tag Archives: Josh Rogin

Text of the U.S.–China joint statement

This idea stolen from Josh Rogin. I’m putting this here so I have it in the future. Source: White House. See also Rogin’s post on China bashing on Capitol Hill.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 19, 2011
U.S. – China Joint Statement

1. At the invitation of President Barack Obama of the United States of America, President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China is paying a state visit to the United States of America from January 18-21, 2011. During his visit, President Hu met with Vice President Joseph Biden, will meet with U.S. Congressional leadership, and will visit Chicago.

2. The two Presidents reviewed the progress made in the relationship since President Obama’s November 2009 State Visit to China and reaffirmed their commitment to building a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S. – China relationship for the 21st century, which serves the interests of the American and Chinese peoples and of the global community. The two sides reaffirmed that the three Joint Communiqués issued by the United States and China laid the political foundation for the relationship and will continue to guide the development of U.S. – China relations. The two sides reaffirmed respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Presidents further reaffirmed their commitment to the November 2009 U.S. – China Joint Statement.

3. The United States and China committed to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit in order to promote the common interests of both countries and to address the 21st century’s opportunities and challenges. The United States and China are actively cooperating on a wide range of security, economic, social, energy, and environmental issues which require deeper bilateral engagement and coordination. The two leaders agreed that broader and deeper collaboration with international partners and institutions is required to develop and implement sustainable solutions and to promote peace, stability, prosperity, and the well-being of peoples throughout the world.

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Language skills lacking in the U.S. foreign service?

Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy reports that government auditors found language skills among foreign service officers to be far more rare than they would hope. On China, he quotes from the unreleased Government Accountability Office report:

In China, officials told us that the officers in China with insufficient language skills get only half the story on issues of interest, as they receive only the official party line and are unable to communicate with researchers and academics, many of whom do not speak English.

The deficiencies are large in war zones, and the article notes serious shortfalls in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only specific data in this article on Chinese posts groups Chinese with Arabic as important languages:
“Deficiencies in what GAO calls ‘supercritical’ languages, such as Arabic and Chinese, were 39 percent.”

The officers I have met in China seem to be in the 61 percent, but the quote above indicates that someone at least in the embassy thinks the 39 percent blocks the staff from doing the best job possible. From me, one vote for more language study (yes, I need it too), and a dream for leaps forward in machine translation.

The other quote from the report on China, which I leave without comment:

In Shenyang, a Chinese city close to the border with North Korea, the consul general told us that reporting about issues along the border had suffered because of language shortfalls.