China is set to appoint veteran diplomat Qin Gang as the next ambassador to Washington, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The 55-year-old, currently the vice minister of foreign affairs, will succeed Ciu Tiankai, who is near the retirement age.
“A big challenge for Mr. Qin is to be able to represent Beijing’s stance but still build bridges with a Washington that is exhibiting rare unity across the two major parties in its hard-line stance toward China,” the report wrote.
According to Deutsche Welle, Qin’s appointment shows that China would like to re-establish regular high-level communications with the United States through a skilled diplomat.
On the other hand, Nicholas Burns, a veteran diplomat who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations and a foreign policy adviser to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, is tipped to be the next U.S. ambassador to Beijing, filling a position that has been left vacant since October last year.
Qin has worked as a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, director general of the Information Department and an ambassador to the U.K., before becoming the youngest vice minister of the ministry in 2018. Prior to that, he was the director of the ministry’s Protocol Department, where he oversaw the planning of high-level foreign visits.
Though Qin, who does not even have a Twitter account, separates himself from the wolf warrior diplomacy of other ambassadors and spokespersons, he was known for making an unusually assertive remark in 2014 towards Japan’s criticism of China’s increase in military budget.
“I want to reiterate that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is not a children’s corps equipped with red-tasselled spears,” he told reporters at a press briefing. “Some outside China hope to see China stay as a boy scout and never grow up. If that is the case, who will ensure our national security and how can world peace be upheld?” he asked.
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