China appointed its ambassador to the United States, Chen Gang, as its foreign minister on Friday, according to Chinese state television.
Chen, known for his criticism of the West, replaces Wang Yi, the face of Chinese diplomacy since 2013.
The new minister, 56, has been ambassador to Washington since 2021 and aspires to put bilateral relations with the United States “on track”.
But the official, originally from Tianjin (north), has earned a reputation as a “fighting wolf”, a nickname given to Chinese diplomats who respond harshly to Western activities, which they consider hostile to Beijing.
Chen’s personality is similar to that of the Chinese ambassador in Paris, Lu Chai, whose numerous undiplomatic statements led to his summons to the French foreign ministry.
In 2020, Chen Gang felt that the deterioration of China’s image in recent years to an unprecedented level in West is caused by the fact that Europeans and Americans, in especially theirs mediawill never accept China’s political system or the country’s economic growth.
The diplomat was a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry for years. He also accompanied President Xi Jinping during his duties as a protocol officer before 2018.
Qin Gang also served as deputy foreign minister between 2018 and 2021.
He was responsible for Europe at the State Department and defended his view that China need not take lessons from the West, repeatedly pointing out that it was its victim during the Opium Wars in the 19th century.
For his part, a US State Department spokesman said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who has in plans to visit Beijing in early 2023 as tensions between the two countries ease, “expects a continuation of a fruitful working relationship with Foreign Minister Chen in his new position.”
“The United States will continue to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China,” he added.
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