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Qin Gang, new Chinese envoy to US, vows to bring frayed ties 'back on track'

A close confidante of President Xi Jingping, Qin Gang, is taking up the new role at a time when ties between China and the US are at a low and he is likely to deliver a combative message.
PUBLISHED ON JUL 29, 2021 09:15 AM IST
Qin Gang speaks to media after reaching Washington. (Image credit: Twitter @ChinaAmbinUS)

A close confidante of Chinese President Xi Jingping has reached Washington as his country’s new ambassador to the United States.

Considered one of China's most prominent "Wolf Warrior" diplomats, Qin Gang, is taking up the new role at a time when ties between the two nations are at a low and he is likely to deliver a combative message.

With two stints as an aggressive foreign ministry spokesperson, the new envoy has vowed to bring US-China ties "back on track".

"As two big countries different in history, culture, social system and development stage, China and the United States are entering a new round of mutual exploration, understanding and adaptation, trying to find a way to get along with each other," Gang told reporters on his arrival in the American capital.

The relationship has rapidly deteriorated in recent years, with the two powers clashing on a wide range of issues, including trade, human rights, cybersecurity and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While President Joe Biden has lowered the tone since taking office, he has largely maintained his predecessor Donald Trump's stance on China and described it as the pre-eminent challenge to the United States.

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Gang, who accompanied Xi on numerous overseas trips as the foreign ministry's protocol chief, is among the diplomats who have vigorously defended China in the face of increasing criticism on the world stage. In February, he defended the style of diplomacy as a necessary response to "groundless slander" and "crazy attacks against China".

The 55-year-old is considered more hawkish than his predecessor in Washington, Cui Tiankai. Fluent in English, the new envoy has spent years at the Chinese embassy in London.

Beijing-based independent analyst Hua Po described Qin as "one of the backbone members" of the Wolf Warrior movement, with diplomats adopting an indignant tone to defend the Communist-led country and even promote conspiracy theories or openly insult foreign counterparts.

However, Xi has urged top political leaders to help cultivate a "reliable, admirable and respectable" international image to improve China's soft power.

(With agency inputs)

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