China’s yet-to-be-announced new ambassador to the US, Qin Gang (秦剛), yesterday headed to Washington, people familiar with the matter said.
Qin left a day after rare high-level talks in Tianjin, China, between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and senior Chinese diplomats ended with the sides reiterating existing positions and no specific outcomes reached.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has maintained pressure on China in a stance that enjoys bipartisan support, but threatens to deepen mistrust.
Qin, 55, is to replace Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai (崔天凱), who at 68 has passed the retirement age for senior Chinese ambassadors, the sources said.
When Cui ended his eight years in Washington last month, he was China’s longest-serving ambassador to the US.
Qin, who is one of China’s vice foreign ministers and whose past portfolios have included European affairs and protocol, has no prior US-related experience, his biography on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site showed.
“It will take some time for Qin build up his network of contacts in the political, security and diplomacy circles in the United States,” said Li Mingjiang (李明江), an associate professor of international relations at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
Qin has done two stints as foreign ministry spokesman between 2006 and 2014.
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