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Ministro das Relações Exteriores da China, Qin Gang, é afastado do cargo após ausência de um mês

- 25 de julho de 2023

Crédito: Japan Times – 25/07/2023 – Terça

O ministro das Relações Exteriores da China, Qin Gang, foi destituído do cargo nesta terça-feira, informou a mídia estatal, depois de desaparecer dos olhos do público por um mês com poucas explicações do Partido Comunista.

A ausência de Qin gerou uma tempestade de especulações de que o homem de 57 anos, considerado um confidente do presidente Xi Jinping, havia caído em desgraça ou estava sujeito a uma investigação oficial.

O Ministério das Relações Exteriores da China havia dito anteriormente que “razões de saúde” eram os culpados, mas mais recentemente se recusou a fornecer qualquer atualização, apesar de repetidos questionamentos.

A agência oficial de notícias Xinhua disse na noite de terça-feira que a mais alta legislatura da China votou para remover Qin do cargo e substituí-lo por seu chefe, Wang Yi.

A Xinhua não deu um motivo para a remoção de Qin, mas disse que Xi assinou uma ordem presidencial para promulgar a decisão.

Questionada repetidamente sobre Qin na terça-feira, a porta-voz do Ministério das Relações Exteriores, Mao Ning, disse a jornalistas que não tinha “nenhuma informação” a oferecer e insistiu que “as atividades diplomáticas da China estão avançando constantemente”.

A China manteve a boca fechada por semanas sobre o destino de Qin, que não é visto em público desde 25 de junho, quando se encontrou com o vice-ministro das Relações Exteriores da Rússia, Andrey Rudenko, em Pequim.

Sua ausência de uma cúpula de alto nível da ASEAN na Indonésia duas semanas depois levantou as sobrancelhas, com a saúde de Qin dada como o motivo.

However, that did little to stem an explosion of rumors online, some of which claimed Qin was under official investigation for an alleged affair with a prominent television anchor.

But on Tuesday analysts urged caution about jumping to conclusions.

“He keeps his more senior position as a state councilor,” tweeted Neil Thomas from the Asia Society Policy Institute, a U.S. think tank. “So not 100% sure this is a purge.”

Manoj Kewalramani, a China expert at the Takshashila Institution in Bengaluru in India, said that Qin keeping the State Council role “could be a product of his proximity to Xi Jinping.”

“It could be also a sign that this was not a product of displeasure with his work or any disciplinary violation but rather a health issue which prevents him from carrying out the intense (foreign minister) role,” he said.

Many of Qin’s duties over the past month had been taken on by Wang, China’s top diplomat who leads the ruling Communist Party’s foreign policy and outranks Qin in the government hierarchy.

Qin had only taken over from Wang as foreign minister in December last year.

“Rather than bring in someone new, you’ve got Wang Yi,” said Kewalramani. “So you have somebody who’s experienced … and can continue at least for the near future in that role.”

Thomas noted that, because Wang now had two jobs, the situation “could be a temporary arrangement.”

“Wang Yi is a veteran of China’s diplomacy, and he is greatly trusted by the whole country,” tweeted Hu Xijin, a prominent commentator with the Global Times state tabloid.

Both Qin’s removal and Wang’s appointment were trending on social media platform Weibo on Tuesday evening.

Qin’s absence over the past month had left a vacuum at the top of China’s Foreign Ministry.

A visit to Beijing by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was abruptly called off this month.

And Bloomberg reported on Friday that a visit by U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was also postponed due to Qin’s situation.

Originally from the northeastern city of Tianjin, Qin frequently rubbed shoulders with Xi in an earlier role as chief of the Foreign Ministry’s protocol department.

His promotion over more experienced candidates, first to U.S. ambassador and then China’s No. 2 diplomat, was attributed to the trust placed in him by Xi directly.

A fluent English speaker, Qin was a visible presence in Washington through public and media appearances in which he defended the Chinese geopolitical position.

He also previously served as a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, where he gained a reputation for caustic responses to difficult questions from journalists.

Foto: Japan Times (Gangue Qin | AFP-JIJI)

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