China’s Foreign Minister to Miss ASEAN Meet, Deepening Mystery over Whereabouts
14:10 JST, July 11, 2023
July 11 (Reuters) – China’s foreign minister Qin Gang will not attend a diplomatic gathering in Indonesia as expected this week, sources familiar with the matter said, extending an unexplained public absence that has lasted for more than two weeks.
Three sources familiar with matter, who declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media, said top diplomat Wang Yi would represent China at the meetings in Jakarta instead.
Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are scheduled to meet on Thursday, before Friday’s East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum.
Qin, 57, took over from Wang as foreign minister in December and was last seen in public on June 25 in Beijing after meeting officials from Sri Lanka, Russia and Vietnam.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not respond to a query about Qin’s whereabouts.
His absence has not gone unnoticed.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin was asked last Friday about an article in U.S. political news website POLITICO that cited speculation that health issues may be behind Qin’s absence. He said he had “not heard about” the report.
Qin was supposed to meet European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell last week in Beijing but the meeting was pushed back after China informed the EU that the dates were “no longer possible,” an EU spokesperson said.
The EU was informed of the postponement just two days before Borrell’s scheduled arrival on July 5, according to a source familiar with the plans.
Wang Yi, who is the foreign policy chief for the Chinese Communist Party, ranks above Qin, who as the foreign minister is the government’s foreign policy chief.
"NEWS SERVICES" POPULAR ARTICLE
Japanese Actor-Director Kitano Says His New Film Explores Homosexual Relations in the Samurai World
Japan’s Nintendo Profits Jump as Its Game Sales Get a Boost from the Hit Super Mario Movie
Japan’s Nikkei Muted; Set to Post First Weekly Drop in Five as Tech Stocks Drag
Japan’s Nikkei Pares Early Gains as Investors Lock in Profits
Israel Searches for Traces of Hamas in Raid of Key Gaza Hospital Packed with Patients
JN ACCESS RANKING
- Exports of Nishikigoi Carp to China Halted; Permits for Japanese Aquaculture Facilities By China Have Expired
- Japan April-Sept. Current Account Surplus Hits Record High
- Japan 2023 Food Exports Reach 1 Tril. Yen at Record Pace
- 69.7 Bil. Yen in COVID-19 Loans to Small Businesses Uncollectible
- AI-generated Child Porn Floods Japan-based Website (Update 1)