China has replaced its foreign minister, absent from public for a month

China has replaced its foreign minister, Qin Gang, after he went unseen in public for a month, bringing back predecessor Wang Yi to the position.

Key points: Chinese authorities have provided no substantial explanation for the absence of Qin, who served as the foreign minister since December after spending less than two years as ambassador to the United States.
* His disappearance led foreign dignitaries to postpone visits to Beijing and sparked unverified rumors about his personal life and professional record.
* Despite this, Qin will retain his title of state councilor, indicating he is not in serious political trouble.

Returning official: Qin’s position will be filled by veteran diplomat Wang Yi, who served as foreign minister from 2013 to 2022.
* Wang is well-known to many US officials and held a previous position in the elite Communist Party ruling body, the Politburo.

Context: Qin, who began his diplomatic career in 1988, climbed the political ranks and was known for his forthright communication style and balancing the growing “wolf warrior diplomacy” within the Chinese foreign ministry.
* He was heavily involved in China’s response to coordinated sanctions by the UK, US, and EU on Chinese officials tied to human rights abuses, persuading Beijing to enact counter-sanctions.
* Qin is believed to be closely associated with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and was trusted to serve as China’s ambassador to the US during a period of rising political and economic tensions between the two nations.

View original article on NPR

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