China Replaces Senior Foreign Ministry Official
AP reports on a leadership shuffle at the Foreign Ministry in the wake of recent diplomatic tensions:
Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun took over recently as the ministry’s Communist Party secretary, state media reported Wednesday, likely putting him in line to eventually take over from Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Yang was accused of being caught off guard when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced at a security conference in Vietnam this year that Washington considered the peaceful resolution of South China Sea disputes as part of the American national interest.
Zhang, 57, had served almost his entire career in the party’s International Liaison Department, a type of shadow Foreign Ministry focusing on contacts with foreign political parties, until he became deputy to Yang last year.
The Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
That party background may mean he has more of a say in policymaking than his predecessor, as China increasingly abandons its former low-key approach to dealing with the outside world. The country’s rising economic clout amid the global economic downturn that has battered traditional powers such as the United States has emboldened Chinese leaders to demand a bigger say in global affairs such as climate change and at international organizations, including the United Nations.