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SALT LAKE CITY -- Ambassador Jon Huntsman is in Utah, visiting from China as the commencement speaker Friday at the University of Utah. Thursday evening, he talked to KSL News about a wide variety of issues.
People are speaking out, and rightly so. And what they do in the convention, and what they do in November, will be a manifestation of their mood and how they want to see this country proceed.
–Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to China
It is obvious that, despite working in China, the former governor is still paying close attention to what is going on at home, and he acknowledges the political climate is changing.
"It's broken today, and it has been since 9/11; and it's crying out for a fix," Huntsman says.
That is how he describes the ongoing unrest over immigration in the United States. He sees the new law in Arizona as just the beginning, as states react to what they see as a lack of urgency in Washington.
"It's lagged behind for too long, and people are speaking out. And I suspect they will continue to speak out until action is taken," Huntsman says.
The ambassador, who, as the governor of Utah, enjoyed unprecedented approval ratings, isn't surprised in the uncertainty of this weekend's state party conventions. Incumbents may be in trouble, and he believes there is an atmosphere of constituents wanting change.
"People are speaking out, and rightly so. And what they do in the convention, and what they do in November, will be a manifestation of their mood and how they want to see this country proceed," he says.
Huntsman acknowledges that over the past nine months he has had some very sensitive issues to work through with the Chinese. He admits the United States and China will always have their differences in trade issues or human rights, but he sees new opportunities for the two nations to come together -- specifically to stabilize the world economy and work for clean energy.
"Both countries have more of a global focus and a global set of responsibilities; and I say that because without the full participation of the United States and China, some of these issues just aren't going to get resolved," Huntsman says.
During Friday's commencement address, the ambassador says he will encourage graduates to have hope for the future, despite the current challenges in the world.
Over the next few days, he will attend a graduation for one of his children and also speak at the University of Pennsylvania.