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China removes Qin Gang as foreign minister after one-month absence

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang holds a copy of the constitution during a news conference in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

Shen Qilai | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday that Xi Jinping’s Beijing government had appointed China’s top diplomat Wang Yi to succeed Qin Gang as foreign minister after a month-long absence.

No reason was given for the dismissal.

Chin, 57, was last seen in public on June 25, when he held talks with foreign ministers from Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Major trading partner Russia. He rose through the ranks of Beijing’s foreign service, including serving as ambassador to the United States for two years before being promoted to head the foreign ministry in December.

Speculation about Qin’s tenure in office has grown after a series of public events to which Qin Yuan was to attend were suspended. Qin was due to meet EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell earlier this month, but China informed the bloc that those dates were “no longer possible”. Reuters reports.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said he had not been able to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ meeting in July due to health reasons, Reuters reported.

Qin’s removal and Wang’s appointment, 69, followed a special session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.

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