One day after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate largely steered clear of any foreign policy discussion, former Ambassador to China and potential presidential candidate Jon Huntsman participated in an event in New York with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
There, Huntsman showcased his expertise on Chinese politics and China-U.S. relations.
He also confirmed reports that he will officially announce his candidacy for president next week. After asking if a lot of people were listening in on the event, Huntsman said that “since we’re in select company,” he would go ahead and say that he intends to make his announcement next Tuesday, June 21.
After making the announcement, Huntsman quipped that his family, who were in attendance, “looked surprised.”
“I hadn’t even told them yet,” he said, to applause from the audience.
But Huntsman spent the majority of the event discussing topics like U.S relations with China, the recent Chinese spying and cyber-security threats, and the China elections next year.
“I don’t think China anticipated sitting on the world stage this soon,” said Huntsman. “But because of the economic environment we’ve experienced in the last few years, the question is are they ready to lead on the world stage.”
“I think they’ll figure it out,” he added.
Huntsman also said that his experience as Ambassador to China will set him apart from the other Republican candidates in the field because what happens “right here at home” and “getting our own house in order” are important tools in dealing with China.
Without that, said Huntsman, “We are less able to project the goodness, power and might of the United States,” adding that is what puts us at a disadvantage at the negotiating table.
Huntsman will add a considerable amount of foreign policy knowledge to a primary field that includes Rick Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.
“There’s only one person in this field who can share a stage with Dr. Kissinger to discuss the foreign policy challenges facing the United States and that person is Governor Jon Huntsman,” said Matt David, communications director for Huntsman’s Horizon PAC.
Huntsman’s official announcement next Tuesday will take place in New Jersey at Liberty State Park.