China appoints Xi’s trusted aide Qin Gang as new foreign minister

Reuters file photo
Chinese Ambassador to the U.S Qin Gang walks during a media day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in September.

BEIJING (Reuters) — China has appointed Qin Gang, a trusted aide of President Xi Jinping, as its new foreign minister, state radio reported on Friday.

Qin, 56, and currently China’s ambassador to the United States, replaces Wang Yi, who has been foreign minister for the past decade. Wang, 69, was promoted to the politburo of the Chinese Communist Party in October and is expected to play a bigger role in foreign policy.

A rising star in the foreign ministry, Qin rose through various positions including as the ministry’s spokesman and postings at the Chinese embassy in Britain.

He served as Xi’s chief protocol officer between 2014 and 2018.

Following his appointment, Qin will return to Beijing from Washington after 17 months as China’s 11th ambassador to the United States.

In an essay published in American bi-monthly magazine the National Interest this week, Qin gave an overview of China’s position on foreign policy and reiterated that China-U.S. relations were not a zero-sum game.