February 4, 2023

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Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang, the new foreign minister

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China’s new foreign minister is in the person of Qin Gang, until now ambassador to the United States. A sign of the importance Beijing attaches to the Sino-US relationship.

A polyglot, basketball fan, comfortable with media and social networks, Qin Gang embodies open and connected Chinese diplomacy, according to state media. He is also known for his blunt, stinging rhetoric in asserting Beijing’s interests. For the first time, a Chinese foreign minister has a Twitter account. He responded on the American stage to greetings sent in, particularly from the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Proximity to the Head of State

This appointment is not surprising. Last October, during the XX Congress of the CPC, Qin Gang was elected among the 200 permanent members of the Politburo. It was the first time since the end of the Mao era that an envoy had direct access to this level of state machinery. Born in Tianjin, like former Premier Wen Jiabao, he joined China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Information Department as a spokesperson. After several rounds between the Department of Western European Affairs, then the Department of Information and the Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom, he became the Junior Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 2018. Since then he will accompany Xi Jinping on most foreign trips. , until covid started.

His rise is owed in part to the head of state sending him to defend the Chinese positionAmbassador of the United States and appoints him today as the head of the Ministry of External Affairs. Traditionally, new leaders wait for a meeting of the Chinese parliament in the spring to take office. This early appointment before the turn of the year bolsters the already well-filled CV and stature of a senior diplomat who is young at 56.

Fox or wolf warrior?

It could also be a sign that Qin Gang is preparing to embark on a long career in the legacy of his two predecessors, Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi. This stability leads to a softening called Chinese foreign policy Werewolf Warriors » ? Qin Gang, a former spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, recalled that China’s image in the West worsened in 2020 because Europeans and Americans – especially the media – never accepted the establishment politics and China’s economic rise, AFP recalled.

According to some American observers, his visit to the Chinese embassy in Washington changed him Profile « Loop “to” Renard ». At the center of his new activities are links to the stability of the Sino-US relationship and the reconciliation of relations with the West in general. Even on the European side, it’s complicated. EU diplomats recalled Qin Gang, then deputy foreign minister, saying: Now shut up. There is a new boss named China. You will obey and we will tell you what to do ».

read more: China-EU: From honeymoon to pessimism under Xi Jinping

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