China Appoints New Foreign Minister

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Ex-China Ambassador to the United States is moved to head up China’s Foreign Ministry

China’s former ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, has been promoted to the foreign minister position, replacing Wang Yi, who has taken up a role in the Communist Party Politburo.

The Foreign Ministry announced the decision on Friday, (December 30) saying that Qin will replace Wang immediately. Although Wang was elected to the politburo in October, it took some time to confirm his successor.

In his first statement as foreign minister, 56-year-old Qin said Beijing’s diplomatic approach will be based on “Chinese wisdom, Chinese initiatives and Chinese strength.”

Having served as China’s envoy to the United States last year, Qin has gradually risen through the ranks of the Foreign Ministry, also holding the Vice Foreign Ministerial role between 2018 and 2021. He began his career in government at the Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions after receiving a degree in international politics from University of International Relations in 1988, later becoming a diplomatic attaché dealing with Western European affairs.

Since taking the ambassadorship, Qin has published a number of op-eds in American media outlets reflecting China’s stance on a range of issues, often emphasizing friendly collaboration. In an article published five days ago, titled “How China Sees the World,” he argued that “China-US relations should not be a zero-sum game” while calling to “explore a way to get along based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.”

Wang has had an impressive career, holding a range of diplomatic positions since the 1980s, including roles related to Japan, Taiwan, Israel and Palestine, and Asian affairs. Meanwhile, Wang, in one of his last moves as foreign minister, held a call with his US counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who he warned to stop Washington’s “old routine of unilateral bullying” and to cease attempts to suppress China’s development.

The nature of that discussion highlights tensions between Beijing and Washington as Qin takes on his new job, with US President Joe Biden continuing many of his predecessor’s more aggressive policies since assuming office last year. In addition to regular transits through the disputed Taiwan Strait by US warships, Biden has presided over a simmering trade war targeting Chinese companies, while American lawmakers continue direct diplomacy with Taiwan. Qin will be holding the course for China over these issues while developing Sino-Foreign concepts designed over the past 15 years, including overseeing the huge Belt & Road Initiative plans. As such, his role as Foreign Minister will be of profound interest to Foreign Governments and China investors alike.

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