China’s wolf warriors don new avatars: Qin new foreign minister, Zhao shifted

China’s New Year resolution seems to bring many more surprises to the world. President Xi, soon after making one of his wolf warrior Qin Gang as the new foreign minister, has shifted another combative diplomat to the crucial border affairs department.

Zhao Lijian, a former spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, has now been designated as the second ranked officer in the border affairs department. Known for his blunt comments, Zhao is among the first Chinese diplomats to make his presence felt on social media, with a massive following on micro-blogging site Twitter and other platforms.

He is the flag bearer of China’s wolf warrior diplomacy, which showcases a more assertive foreign policy pursued by President Xi Jinping, designed for making China a leading global power.  Known for his expertise in Asian affairs,  Zhao had been posted twice in the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, and as well had served in Chinese Embassy in the United States.

With Mr. Zhao taking the new post, he will closely be dealing with India on its border issues regarding LAC with China. Even with the image of a “wolf warrior,” Mr Zhao has supported India–China bilateral ties.

The reassigning of Mr. Zhao underlines the desire to project a softer image of China to the world, said Manish Chand, Director, Centre for Global India Insights, a think tank focused on global affairs.  With Qin Gang taking the charge as China’s foreign minister, one can expect some improvement in China-US relations that have been under enormous strain in recent years.

(Megha Gupta contributed inputs for this article)


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