China says it has removed Foreign Minister Qin Gang from his post following his disappearance for a month, replacing him with his predecessor Wang Yi.
The Xinhua news agency reported that “China’s top legislature voted to appoint Wang Yi as foreign minister … as it convened a session on Tuesday,” adding that “Qin Gang was removed from the post of foreign minister.”
The announcement comes as Qin, who was appointed as foreign minister in December, had not been seen in public since June 25 when he met visiting Russian, Vietnamese, and Sri Lankan foreign ministers in Beijing.
After the 57-year-old diplomat missed an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, China’s foreign ministry later said he couldn’t attend for “health reasons”.
Wang filled in for Qin during his absence which took place without explanation. The 70-year-old diplomat will now retake the role he held between 2018 and 2022.
Wang began his career in the foreign ministry in 1982, became the counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Japan in 1989, and then the minister counselor in April 1993. He then was appointed as the deputy director general of the Department of Asian Affairs at the ministry in 1994 and then the director general of the Department of Asian Affairs from 1995 to 1998.
He served as the Vice Minister and CPC Central Committee member of the ministry from 2001 to 2004 before he was appointed Chinese ambassador to Japan.
Wang also served as the director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council from 2008 to 2013.
Between 2013 and 2018, Wang served as the minister and deputy secretary of the CPC Committee of the foreign ministry, and since 2018, he served as the State Councilor, member of the Leading CPC Members Group of the State Council, and Minister of Foreign Affairs before Qin took up the position in 2022.