BEIJING — President Bush dedicated a massive $434-million U.S. Embassy today in Beijing, calling it a symbol of deepening ties between the two trading partners and sometime political rivals.
The eight-story American Embassy is the second-largest in the world, after the heavily fortified U.S. mission compound in Baghdad.
The 500,000-square-foot structure, situated on 10 acres in a new diplomatic zone, is wrapped in free-standing transparent and opaque glass.
The president hailed the efforts of the two countries to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons, battle diseases, respond to natural disasters and increase trade.
Then he criticized -- again -- the communist nation's repression of its people.
"We strongly believe societies which allow the free expression of ideas tend to be the most prosperous and the most peaceful," he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang admonished Bush, saying, "We firmly oppose any words or acts that interfere in other countries' internal affairs, using human rights and religion and other issues."