China appoints ‘wolf warrior’ as new foreign minister

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China appointed US ambassador Qin Gang as its new foreign minister on Friday, state media reported, installing a top diplomat known for tough talk against the West.

The 56-year-old replaces Wang Yi, who has been the face of Chinese diplomacy since 2013.

Qin had been Beijing’s top representative in Washington since last year, charged with putting the relationship between the world’s two largest economies back on track.

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Qin, from the northeastern city of Tianjin, has earned a reputation as a “wolf warrior,” a nickname given to Chinese diplomats who respond vehemently to Western nations they perceive as hostile.

He said in 2020 the image of China in the West had deteriorated because Europeans and Americans -- in particular the media -- had never accepted the Chinese political system or its economic rise.

Qin was a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry for several years.

He frequently rubbed shoulders with President Xi Jinping before 2018 in his duties as chief of the foreign ministry’s protocol department.

He also served as vice foreign minister between 2018 and last year.

Qin has previously laid out a vision of China as a country that has little to learn from the West and has invoked its history as a victim during the Opium Wars of the 19th century.

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