China has removed Qin Gang as foreign minister less than seven months after he was appointed to the post.

Qin who had been seen as a close associate of President Xi Jinping is replaced by veteran Communist Party foreign affairs chief Wang Yi.

Qin’s prolonged disappearance from public view – and official silence over it – has fuelled furious speculation; the 57-year-old’s last known public engagements were on 25 June. 

You will recall that he had been appointed by China’s leader to his last December and just over a month ago, he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing as the two sides sought to restore diplomatic contacts at the highest level.

There was no reason given for his removal.

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