top of page

China appoints deputy foreign minister but Wang Yi's move to minister still remains a mystery

The difficult selection of the new foreign minister may be linked to the power position of Cai Qi, Xi's friend


The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on the 14th that Chen Xiaodong, former ambassador to South Africa, will be appointed deputy minister of foreign affairs.


The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on the 14th that Chen Xiaodong, former ambassador to South Africa, will be appointed deputy minister of foreign affairs. (From the official website of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa)

As soon as the sessions of the National People's Congress of China (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) closed, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced on the 14th that Chen Xiaodong, former ambassador to South Africa, will be appointed vice minister of foreign affairs.


However, it is not yet known whether Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pass the baton and whether Liu Jianchao, minister of foreign affairs and liaison department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), will take over as foreign minister, which has been under debate since last year.


Since the NPC has not yet taken up the case of the foreign minister's staff, insiders speculate that after the CCP leadership identifies the preferred candidate, further arrangements could be made only when the NPC Standing Committee meets in the near future.

Chen Xiaodong becomes deputy foreign minister. China's Foreign Ministry has four deputy ministers


On March 14, the official website of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) announced that Chen Xiaodong, former Chinese ambassador to South Africa, has been appointed deputy minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).


The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) also updated its official website with the list of four deputy ministers: Ma Zhaoxu (with full ministerial rank), Sun Weidong, Chen Xiaodong, and Deng Li.


Chen Xiaodong held a departure reception at the Chinese Embassy in South Africa on March 5 and officially left on March 11 to return to China.


According to China's official information, Chen Xiaodong, 59, has worked extensively in China's foreign affairs system; served as advisor and deputy director of the Department of West Asia and North Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq, Minister of the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Director-General of the Department of West Asia and North Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Singapore, among other positions.


Chen Xiaodong's return to the ministry as deputy minister marks the Chinese Foreign Ministry's return to four deputy ministers after Xie Feng, China's ambassador to the United States, was posted to the United States in May last year.


After Xie Feng (pictured right), the current Chinese ambassador to the United States, was posted to the United States in May last year, the Chinese Foreign Ministry reinstated four more deputy ministers in its system. (Taken from Xie Feng's Twitter account)

It has been more than half a year since Wang Yi took over as foreign minister, and the current session of the National People's Congress (NPC) has yet to decide on his replacement


After the demise of former Foreign Minister Qin Gang in June and his dismissal in July last year, Wang Yi, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, returned as foreign minister, while Ma Zhaoxu, acting deputy minister, and Liu Jianchao, minister of foreign affairs of the CPC, were named by insiders as their successors; insiders also expected that Wang's appointment as foreign minister, of "very high quality," was only a transitional arrangement. However, amid all the rumors, there has been no new progress on China's Foreign Ministry personnel.


A few days before the opening of this year's National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the NPC suddenly announced Qin's resignation as an NPC deputy, and his "removal" has once again drawn attention to the Chinese foreign minister's staff and Qin's position over the past six months or so.


In fact, Wang Yi has been back as foreign minister for more than a year and a half. With his first term as foreign minister in 2013, Wang Yi has served as foreign minister for more than 10 years, making him the second longest-serving foreign minister since the founding of the Chinese government. However, as reflected in this year's National People's Congress (NPC) agenda and foreign ministers' press conference, the CPC did not address the issue of the foreign minister's staffing in this year's NPC, and Wang Yi's various foreign policy announcements in international press conferences showed no sign of "temporary replacement" or "transition."


China's newly appointed Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a meeting with his Turkish counterpart , in Ankara, on July 26, 2023. Wang Yi this week returns as China's foreign minister, stepping into a job he held for almost a decade in the face of the month-long absence of deposed diplomat Qin Gang. (Photo by POOL / AFP) (Photo by -/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The difficult selection of the new foreign minister may be linked to the power position of Cai Qi, Xi's friend


There are whispers in Beijing that the main reason for the difficulty in finding Wang Yi's successor is, in addition to the fact that CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping's "hiring circle" is too narrow, the disagreement in the CCP Politburo over the executive's role in the very important diplomatic work; there have even been rumors that Cai Qi, a member of the Standing Committee of the CCP Politburo and secretary of the Central Committee Secretariat, who is highly trusted by Xi, intends to take over the work on foreign affairs.

Although there is no sign of a change in the Foreign Minister's staff, this could happen at any time when Xi's preferred candidate emerges. Under the Chinese Communist Party system, when the NPC is not in session, the NPC Standing Committee has the power to appoint and remove individual heads of China's executive, supervisory, judicial, Supreme People's Procuratorate, and military organs. It is also expected that the press release of the next NPC Standing Committee meeting will include the words "discuss appointments and removals of personnel."


The advent of XI and the birth of the Party-State


The CCP has consistently ruled by exercising absolute supremacy within the country. Its regime has always been a one-party totalitarian dictatorship,


While previous leaders pushed for a separation of powers between Party and State organs, Xi changed the rules and the Party slowly transformed into the State.


The passage of the constitutional amendment he wanted in 2018 to remove term limits for the office of China's president is one part of the much larger project to merge the functions of the Party with those of the state.


The lifting of these limits paved the way for Xi, Head of State and CCP, to extend his term as President of the People's Republic of China for another 5 years (2023-2028) and, in theory, to multiple terms after

2028.


China, then, has transformed itself into a refined form of neo-totalitarianism.

In recent decades, Xi has always been the Party Chief and has also held the post of President of the People's Republic of China (PRC).


For the first time in the Party's history, he also held the post of Chief of the Armed Forces (People's Liberation Army - PLA).

The centralization of power is widely recognized as one of the most important features of Xi Jinping's government.


His status as "principal leader" places him, in fact, at the center of every decision-making process: domestic, economic, foreign and military policy.


In China's "Unified Party-State," central Party institutions, led by Xi, make all major policy decisions, which are then implemented along a top-down hierarchy of subnational governments led by the CCP at the provincial, prefectural, county, municipal and village levels.


The most important body that formulates and discusses foreign policy is the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Central Committee (FAC), chaired by Xi Jinping.


The Foreign Ministry has remained the top foreign policy communication institution.


The main foreign policy-related change desired by Xi occurred in 2018 with the elevation of the CCP's Small Leading Group (LSG) for Foreign Affairs to a committee161. This was part of a reform aimed at strengthening the role of the CCP's central governing bodies as opposed to the state structure, formally led by the State Council and the Prime Minister.

The three additional LSGs, all chaired by Xi, were transformed into Commissions: Finance and Economy (FEC), Comprehensive Deepening of Reforms (CDRC) and Cybersecurity and Informatization (CIC).

7 visualizzazioni0 commenti

Comments


bottom of page