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China’s ambassador to the US joins Twitter – here’s his first tweet

China's Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai listens to a question from international news media journalists at the 23rd Session of the U.S. China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) press conference at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (Lance Cheung/U.S. Department of Agriculture)
July 09, 2019

China’s ambassador to the U.S. has joined Twitter this week in an effort to better connect with the U.S.

Cui Tiankai made his first tweet Monday morning, saying, “I’m pleased to join Twitter and look forward to engaging with more American people. Feel free to follow me and @ChineseEmbinUS to stay looped in.”

Cui’s account says it was created in June, indicating he waited at least nine days to make his first tweet.

Along with Cui’s account, an official Chinese Embassy in U.S. Twitter account was also created.

“As China & the US celebrate a 40-year long diplomatic relationship, we are pleased to join Twitter in which we can engage in more frequent and productive dialogue with Americans,” the Embassy said in its first tweet, posted the same time as Cui’s.

“The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States and His Excellency Ambassador Cui Tiankai officially launched their Twitter accounts today,” the embassy said in a statement Monday, adding the username handles of both official accounts.

“The Chinese Embassy is committed to promoting mutual understanding between China and the U.S. by engaging with the American people on social media,” the statement added.

Both accounts were quickly verified by Twitter.

A fake Twitter account was opened under Cui’s name last year. The account used his name and photo, but the Chinese Embassy confirmed at the time that it was fraudulent.

“Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai has never opened an account with Twitter. Any current Twitter accounts opened in the Ambassador’s name or with his photo are fake. The Chinese Embassy in the United States retains the right to pursue legal actions against the counterfeiters,” the embassy said in a statement on Aug. 19, 2018.

Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media, along with Gmail, are blocked in China except for a few Chinese officials who have been permitted to use it for engagement purposes in Western nations.

The new accounts come ahead of upcoming trade talks agreed upon during a brief meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit late last month.

In January, Cui encouraged American companies against severing ties with Chinese businesses, and at the same time encouraged Chinese firms to learn from Americans, the South China Morning Post reported at the time.

Cui called for “confidence in openness,” adding that “this kind of openness also means the readiness to learn from your American partners. Not only in terms of technology and management skills, but also, more importantly, their capacity for imagination and culture for innovation.”

Just a month earlier, Cui threatened that China would “retaliate” if the U.S. applied sanctions against China for its human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims.