China names its US envoy Qin Gang as new foreign minister

There is a possibility of Qin succeeding 69-year-old Wang as Special Representative for the India-China border mechanism.
Chinese envoy to US Qin Gang (File photo| AFP)
Chinese envoy to US Qin Gang (File photo| AFP)

NEW DELHI: China on Friday appointed its envoy to the US, Qin Gang, as the new foreign minister. Qin, 56, will succeed incumbent Wang Yi, who has been elevated to the politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and is expected to play a bigger role.

There is a possibility of Qin succeeding 69-year-old Wang as Special Representative for the India-China border mechanism. The surprise announcement came a day after the US military said a Chinese fighter jet had flown within six metres of a US Air Force surveillance plane over the South China Sea on December 21.

The news of Qin’s appointment came to light after foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying tweeted, “Congratulations Qin Gang for his appointment as China’s new foreign minister. Looking forward to a splendid new chapter in China’s diplomacy.”

Qin is known to be an astute diplomat who is known for his firm style in articulating China’s foreign policy. In an interview to a US magazine, Qin gave an overview of China’s position on foreign policy and reiterated that China-US relations were not a “zero-sum” game. In an earlier interview given to a radio channel, NPR, he called the Uyghur genocide “fabrication, lies and disinformation”.

A trusted aide of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Qin had served as the leader’s chief protocol officer between 2014 and 2018. He has also served in the Chinese embassy in UK. Qin has been closely associated Xi and in the past decade he has accompanied him on all international travels.

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