China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, becomes Foreign Minister

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on its website today that China’s ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, has been selected as the country’s new foreign minister.

Qin, 56, will replace Wang Yi in the post at a time when relations with the United States are strained by geopolitical issues and trade disputes, particularly in Taiwan.

Qin, whose previous posts were the spokesperson for the ministry in Beijing, regularly tweets and is known as a “wolf warrior” for his criticism of the West, but has at times bought a soft touch on the complex Sino-US relationship.

“I tried my first shot at an NBA game @WashWizards,” Qin said in a tweet dated December 27. “We also renewed our special relationship as the Washington Wizards were the first NBA team to visit China in 1979 when the two countries established diplomatic relations.”

In an interview with Forbes in Washington, DC in May, Qin was optimistic about the overall ties between the two countries, despite trade conflicts. “We are natural partners because our economies complement each other,” he said. “We are very optimistic about the potential and opportunities between our countries.”

Speaking virtually at the US-China Business Forum on Forbes on August 5, Qin, being a fluent English speaker, was also optimistic about China’s potential to recover from Covid-related problems in the long run.

“The key features of the Chinese economy – full potential, great flexibility, strong vitality, wide room for maneuver and a large number of policy instruments – remained unchanged,” Qin said. “The various advantages of China’s development have not changed. We have full confidence in the future of the Chinese economy.”

One of Qin’s first tasks will be to handle the anticipated visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing in February. This will follow a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the APEC Summit in Bali in November.

Wang, outgoing foreign minister, was elected to the Politburo in October.

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