Who is China’s new ambassador to the US?

Briefly: China’s new ambassador to the US, Xie Feng, arrived in Washington on Tuesday (23 May). Xie replaces Qin Gang, who was elevated to foreign minister last December.

As tensions between the US and China ballooned earlier this year, China left its colossal Washington DC embassy without an ambassador for several months. It’s not clear whether China delayed Xie’s arrival to send an intentional message of displeasure to the US.

Xie’s a career diplomat and is well-versed in the complexities of the US-China relationship. He’s negotiated sensitive prisoner swaps with the US and Canada, and coordinated a high-profile virtual meeting between Presidents Biden and Xi in 2021.

Intrigue’s take: Xie’s arrival might be a signal that Beijing is open to ‘a reset’ just days after President Joe Biden foreshadowed a possible ‘thaw’ in relations.

Within a few hours of landing in New York, Xie released a statement in which he said there were “serious difficulties and challenges” in China-U.S. relations but the relationship was “too important for us to let it fail”.

The new ambassador’s stated good intentions notwithstanding, it’s hard to see a single career diplomat being able to influence the relationship much himself.

Also worth noting:

  • Xie served as Vice Foreign Minister before his appointment as ambassador to the US.
  • A State Department spokesperson welcomed Xie and signalled an interest in “maintaining channels of communication.”
Latest Author Articles
Western funding for Ukraine under pressure as the war approaches its third calendar year 

The White House warned in a letter to Congress yesterday (Monday) that military and economic assistance to Ukraine will run out by the end of the year without additional funding. Failure to allocate new money would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield”, according to budget director Shalanda Young.

5 December, 2023
Court forces Panama to shut a key copper mine

Panama’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously (🇵🇦) on Tuesday that the law behind the country’s vast Cobre Panama copper mine was “unconstitutional”.

30 November, 2023
BBC report alleges COP28 host UAE used host status to source oil and gas deals

Documents leaked to the Centre for Climate Reporting suggest UAE officials have sought to leverage their COP28 host country status to push for oil and gas deals, just as the UAE kicks off the COP28 climate talks in Dubai this Thursday.

28 November, 2023
An Israel-Hamas ‘hostages-for-pause’ deal?

Hamas may soon agree to release 50-100 women and children being held as hostages in Gaza, according to Israeli, Qatari, and American officials.

21 November, 2023