China Replaces Foreign Minister Missing For a Month

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who has not been seen in public for a month, has been dismissed today and replaced by his predecessor, Wang Yi, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (PNA) of China, which holds the Legislative power, has approved in an unusual meeting the dismissal of Qin and his replacement by Wang Yi, Xinhua has detailed, without offering more information about Qin Gang.

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The agency has added that the Chinese president and general secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has signed an order to make effective the decision adopted by the PNA.

Qin, 57, came to office last December, when the Chinese Communist Party rewarded his firm and aggressive tone with the country’s foreign ministry, kicking off months of frenetic activity, after China reopened with the end of the ‘zero covid’ policy. Qin then replaced Wang Yi.

Previously, he had been a spokesman for Foreign Affairs, director of Protocol for the portfolio and from there to vice minister until, in 2021, he was appointed Ambassador of China to the United States.

His last notable public appearance was last June, when he met in Beijing with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at a time when both parties were trying to recover communication to avoid further conflict. But he did not participate in meetings in early July with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and White House Special Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry, who was received by Wang Yi in Beijing.

Exactly one month ago, on June 25, he was last seen in public, at a meeting in the Chinese capital with officials from Sri Lanka, Russia and Vietnam. Since then, the official press stopped mentioning his name and he disappeared from social networks and diplomatic events, arousing all kinds of speculation about his whereabouts and his situation.

Speculations and few explanations

And it is that the “absences” of officials, businessmen and other figures of public interest in China always come hand in hand with all kinds of conjectures, rumors and double readings, although government spokesmen justified their absence from the last ASEAN summit for “health reasons”.

At the insistence of the press, the spokesmen for the Foreign Ministry had limited themselves to commenting in recent weeks that they had “no information to provide” about Qin.

As of this Tuesday, Wang, 69, is officially the new foreign minister, although he had already replaced Qin in several meetings that were held this month. The diplomat returns to occupy the position that he already held from 2013 until last December 31.

Wang Yi is part of the Politburo (the leadership of the Communist Party) and was promoted last October to head of the Office of the Party’s Foreign Affairs Commission, which made him the highest-ranking diplomat of the Asian giant.

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