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New US ambassador to China looks to reassure Beijing

image captionMr Locke is looking to improve the relationship between the US and China.

Gary Locke, the new US ambassador to China, has said that Beijing's investments in the US are safe despite recent debt problems.

In his first public appearance since arriving in China, Mr Locke also called for greater cooperation between the two nations.

China is the biggest holder of US debt and has criticised the way the recent crisis has been handled.

It warned the problems threaten to destabilise the global economy.

Mr Locke looked to reassure China and said that the US was tackling the spiralling debt levels that saw it lose its triple-A credit rating for the first time.

"The president and Congress have joined on a path ensuring fiscal integrity of the United States of America," Mr Locke said.

"Over the last several days more people are buying US Treasuries and that's a clear indication that investment in the US is safe and secure and that the economy, while having its challenges, is still strong."

Tackling problems

Talking about his new role in China, Mr Locke said he was "humbled and honoured" to be the first Chinese-American to hold the post of ambassador.

The 61-year-old is the son of two Chinese immigrants to the US. He formerly served as US commerce secretary and replaces Jon Huntsman, who resigned in April to run for president.

Mr Locke's first high-profile visitor will be US Vice-President Joe Biden, who is due to arrive in China this week.

In recent years, the US and China have been at loggerheads over a number of issues including trade flows and the value of the Chinese yuan.

US President Barack Obama has said he wants to improve relations with China and the appointment of Mr Locke is seen as being a key step in that process.

"Certainly there are many challenges facing both China and America," Mr Locke said.

"But if our people, our business people, our scientists, our students can really join together, we can solve not just the challenges and problems facing each of our countries, we can actually solve many of the problems facing the entire world."