US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with incoming Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Sunday, Blinken said on Twitter, after China named its ambassador to the United States as its new foreign minister last week. Blinken said that in his phone call with Qin, he discussed US-China relations and maintaining open lines of communication.
China choose Qin, its ambassador to the US and trusted adviser to President Xi Jinping, as its new foreign minister as Beijing and Washington seek to stabilize shaky relations.
Qin, 56, replaces Wang Yi, who has been foreign minister for the past decade. Wang, 69, was promoted to the Politburo of the Communist Party of China in October and is expected to play a bigger role in China’s foreign policy.
Although Qin sounded optimistic about US-China relations during his relatively short 17-month stint as ambassador in Washington his predecessor held the post for eight years his tenure nevertheless coincided with deteriorating relations between the two superpowers. Wang’s tenure as foreign minister has seen a sharp rise in tensions between Beijing and Washington on a range of issues from trade to Taiwan.