China: Foreign Minister Qin Gang relieved of his duties

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who has not been seen in public for a month, has been relieved of his duties, state media reported on Tuesday.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that from December 2022, Qin Gang has been replaced in office by his predecessor Wang Yi.

No reason was given by the agency, which reports other appointments including Pan Gongsheng, a trained economist, to head the central bank.

In office since late December, Mr. Kin, with his usually busy schedule, has not been seen since a June 25 meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart in Beijing.

Since then, he has missed several diplomatic meetings, including a crucial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Indonesia in early July.

An absence that generated many rumors on social networks, fueled discussions among the Chinese and increased pressure on the authorities, who sidestepped many questions on the subject.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had justified this absence of Qin Gang by “reasons of health”, before wrapping itself in virtual silence.

Since the beginning of Qin Gang’s absence, his predecessor Wang Yi had already taken over some of the former minister’s duties.

Wang Yi is the top diplomatic official of the Chinese Communist Party, one rank above minister.

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