JANUARY 3, 2023
hotographer: Catalina Fragoso/NBAE/Getty Images. –
New Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang offered effusive praise of Americans after stepping down as his nation’s top envoy to Washington, signaling that ties between the world’s biggest economies appear to be warming despite recent tensions over Taiwan.
“I have been deeply impressed by so many hard-working, friendly and talented American people that I met,” Qin said in a Tweet on Tuesday, adding that he had “made many friends across the US.”
Qin said he’d continue to “support the growth of China-US relations,” and promote peace and development — comments that add to signs Beijing is adopting a softer diplomatic touch.
China-US ties have improved since talks between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in November, and may get another boost when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits early this year. Washington and Beijing have resumed discussions on topics such as climate change that China halted after Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, when Beijing conducted unprecedented military drills around the island it has vowed to someday control.
China has expressed frustration with that US support for Taiwan, and Beijing has said Washington needs to take steps for the nations to make progress in restarting dialogue between their armed forces. The People’s Liberation Army last week held more large military drills near the democratically run island.
During his year in Washington, Qin, 56, showed a warmer side of Chinese diplomacy by shooting free throws at a Washington Wizards basketball game and riding in a Tesla with Elon Musk. He also delivered moderate messages on hot topics, saying Beijing would have tried to stop the invasion of Ukraine had it known Russia’s plans and downplaying the risk China-US relationsof a war with Taiwan.
Qin takes a job vacated by Wang Yi, who was recently promoted to the Communist Party’s top foreign policy role over the weekend. Wang wrote in an article that named him as the new head of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission that China would establish guidelines on US relations and “correct course,” without elaborating.