China has announced the replacement of foreign minister Qin Gang, one month after the former high-flying favourite of leader Xi Jinping disappeared from public view, reports the Financial Times. Qin’s sudden disappearance came as the government was trying to restore dialogue with Washington and conduct a charm offensive with European nations after several years of increasingly tense relations.
The affair has threatened to become an embarrassment for Xi, who analysts say handpicked Qin for the foreign minister role late last year, shortly after the Chinese leader was confirmed for an unprecedented third term in office.
China’s state news agency Xinhua said on Tuesday that the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, had removed Qin and replaced him with the country’s most senior diplomat, Wang Yi, his predecessor as minister. The statement did not give further details.