Jon Huntsman is running for president. And just before he announced he was, Wikileaks put out several leaked cables sent by him when he was ambassador to China. Some would-be Republican voters are skeptical about Huntsman – who worked under a Democratic president – and how committed to the cause he would be. Those leaked cables show the level of his commitment to the job.
Even before he left for China, Huntsman was vocal in the cables about China’s human rights record. So much that in December 2009, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ding Xiaowen, was “strongly dissatisfied” with Huntsman. Huntsman also praises a speech Secretary Clinton gave on internet freedom, saying it “touched a nerve” in China.
Huntsman tells Clinton in the cables that there may be increased tensions between China and the US for a while and the two countries should make trade between them easier. He says that visa applications should be made easier and that US universities be made attractive to would-be students.
It was assumed when Obama appointed Huntsman as Ambassador to China that he was putting a would-be re-election challenger out of the way. Now that that didn’t work, it’ll be interesting to see how his China record bolsters or sinks him in the polls.
By Robert O’Connor