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Sources say Chinese assistant foreign minister to become next ambassador to Japan

  • March 7, 2017
  • , Sankei , p. 1
  • JMH Translation

By Akio Yasaka in Beijing


It was learned on March 6 that Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, who is knowledgeable about Japan, is most likely to replace Cheng Yonghua as ambassador to Japan. This was revealed by several Chinese diplomatic sources. Kong may take up post as soon as this summer. Cheng will return to China and replace Wu Dawei, who is retiring, as special envoy on Korean Peninsula affairs to take charge of North Korea’s nuclear and other issues.


Kong is a member of the Korean ethnic group in China. He studied Japanese in university and worked in Japan for over 10 years. After serving as minister at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo from 2006 to 2011, he became ambassador to Vietnam, subsequently serving as the director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Asian Affairs before being promoted to his present position.


Meanwhile, Cheng, who became ambassador to Japan in 2010, is the longest serving Chinese envoy to Tokyo. According to a Chinese diplomatic source, this is because the Xi Jinping regime had counted on the connections of Cheng – who studied at Soka University – with Komeito to influence the Japanese government amid the deterioration of relations between the Abe administration and China.


The position of ambassador to Japan is considered to be the “worst deal” in the Chinese Foreign Ministry because it is difficult to produce results in Japan-China relations, and if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does something like visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, the ambassador is at risk of being reprimanded by the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

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