Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang gestures after a press conference in Beijing, China, 07 March 2023. EFE/EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

China’s FM Qin Gang replaced with predecessor Wang Yi

Beijing, Jul 25 (EFE).- China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who has not been seen in public for a month, has been ousted and replaced by his predecessor Wang Yi, state media reported Tuesday.

Qin has not appeared in public since June 25, when he met in Beijing with officials from Sri Lanka, Russia and Vietnam, and has been notably absent from several diplomatic events, sparking speculation over his whereabouts.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress approved Qin’s dismissal at a meeting Tuesday where Wang was reinstated as Foreign Minister, according to Xinhua.

Qin’s dismissal follows his stratospheric rise in December, when his firm and aggressive tone was rewarded by Chinese president Xi Jinping, kicking off months of frenetic activity as the country reopened following the end of its stringent “Zero Covid” policy.

Qin, who had previously served in several roles within the foreign ministry, including Chinese Ambassador to the United States from 2021 to 2023, had replaced Wang amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and escalating tensions with the US.

His last high-profile public appearance was in June, when he met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing as both sides sought to reignite talks to ease bilateral tensions.

Qin was scheduled to attend the Asean foreign ministers meeting in Indonesia on 11 and 12 July, which, according to Beijing, he missed “for health reasons”.

He was also absent during meetings held in Beijing in early July with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and White House Special Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry, who met with Wang.

Wang, 69, is part of the Politburo (the Communist Party’s 24-member executive committee), and was promoted in October to director of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission Office, making him the highest-ranking diplomat in China.

He has already served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 until December 31 last year, when he was replaced by Qin. EFE