China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang Ousted After Month-Long Absence

The trip of U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken to China in the month of June had some unfavorable results. Although an agreement was reached to resume high-level discussions, the Chinese refused the U.S.’s request for military-to-military communication. Blinken also met with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials, including Foreign Ministry Qin Gang, as well as top diplomat Wang Yi.

Blinken and Qin Gang, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Blinken for several hours on Sunday.

Blinken and Qin Gang met for almost six hours in the first round of discussions on Sunday. Both countries then announced that they would continue their high-level talks. There was no indication that the two countries were any closer to resolving their most contentious issues.

The U.S., China, and Blinken all said that Qin accepted Blinken’s invitation to visit Washington. However, Beijing stated that “China-U.S. relations are at their lowest point since the establishment of the relationship.” This sentiment is shared by many U.S. government officials.

Qin is “absent” in the public eye since June 25, 2023. This was just one week after his meeting Blinken. It was announced on Tuesday via Chinese state-run media that Qin would be replaced by his former predecessor, Wang.

China has reported that it has removed its outspoken Foreign Minister Qin Gang after he had been missing for over a month.

Wang Yi, Qin’s predecessor, is now the official who met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing during Blinken’s pivotal June visit.

State media did not give any reason for Qin being removed in an announcement made on Tuesday night. According to the Associated Press, Qin had disappeared from public view for almost a month amid speculation about his personal life and political rivalries.

Qin was ill when the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced two weeks ago that he would not attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit (ASEAN).

The Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang was ill and will be replaced by the senior diplomat of the country at the two-day summit of ASEAN this week to take place in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, did not give any details about Qin’s illness. Qin hasn’t been seen in public for more than two weeks.

Wang told a daily press briefing on Tuesday that Qin Gang, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was unable to participate in this series due to his health.

Qin, aged 57, was Foreign Minister from December 2022 and State Councilor in March 2023. He was the Chinese ambassador to the United States between 2021 and 2023. He is considered a confidant to Xi, and his absence set the rumors swarming.

Qin hasn’t appeared in public since the 25th of June. He was a close confidant of Xi and rose quickly through the diplomatic ranks. China’s Foreign Ministry said that Qin missed high-level diplomatic events due to a “physical condition” in a news conference on July 11. However, the transcript of the news meeting does not include this explanation. A spokesperson for the foreign ministry said that he had no information on reports that Qin was having an extramarital relationship with a Chinese journalist while he served as ambassador in Washington.

Is this about sickness, sexual impropriety, or internal conflicts? What about all three?

There is much speculation and intrigue in the U.S. Government about this issue, but very little solid information. U.S. officials first suspected Qin was suffering from covid. However, he has been absent for longer than a typical bout of illness. The allegations about Qin’s affair are credible, but they have not been confirmed by several U.S. officials. Many said that he was likely a victim of the fratricidal infighting within China’s top leader’s clique.

One senior U.S. government official told me that Qin had a large number of enemies within the government. “He was a marginally gifted person who, by being close to Xi alone, catapulted into the spotlight.”

Qin’s meteoric rise was a source of envy for many of Qin’s rivals. The story goes that Qin gained entry into Xi’s inner circle after Qin’s wife presented Xi’s wife with homemade mooncakes. Last year, he was promoted from ambassador to Foreign Minister and made a Politburo member. This year he was also appointed State Councilor. This made him the most powerful person in China. Qin’s main rival is Qin’s former state councilor, Wang Yi. Wang Yi is now the director of CCP’s Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission. He met Kissinger last week.

Who released the information and who benefited? Another U.S. official said that Wang Yi was at the top.

Wang, who was previously the Foreign Minister but is now no longer in that position due to Qin’s departure (which may or may not be revealed), will resume his role as the new Foreign Minister. For those at home keeping track, Wang is the top diplomat whose racially charged comments earlier in July caused a stir.

Wang, the current head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s foreign affairs commission was making controversial remarks towards Japan and Korea. He implied that Westerners cannot tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.

Americans consider all visitors from China and South Korea as Asians. The Americans cannot distinguish between the two and the same is true in Europe.

You’ll never become a Westerner, no matter how bright your hair is or how sharp your nose becomes.

It is important to know one’s roots. If we could join forces and work together, we would be able to benefit our countries and our people. We can also revitalize East Asia, and enrich the entire world.

Wang is also the one who, following Blinken’s visit, issued a statement chastising the U.S.

What can be done to resolve the situation? The United States must “reflect on itself” and adhere to the “mutual coexistence, peaceful cooperation, and win-win collaboration put forward by President Xi Jinping.”

Wang also demanded that “the United States cease playing up the so-called ‘China Threat’.”

Here’s a reminder about the differences in styles between Qin Wang and Qin:

No matter what the reasons for Qin being removed, the Chinese-U.S. relationship will not improve with Wang resuming his role.