China’s envoy in India who last month completed a three-year tenure in New Delhi has been appointed a Vice Foreign Minister in Beijing, the Chinese government announced on Tuesday.
Sun Weidong, who spent a little over three years in India as the Chinese Ambassador, was named as Vice Foreign Minister in an announcement from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, reported by the Communist Party-run Global Times.
As Vice Foreign Minister, Mr. Sun will be Beijing’s key point-man on India and will report to the Foreign Minister, Wang Yi. There are three other Vice FMs in the Ministry.
The appointment was expected as the post of envoy to India is one of 10 overseas posts of Vice Ministerial rank, along with posts in the United States, United Kingdom and Japan. Mr. Sun’s predecessor in India, Luo Zhaohui, was also appointed a Vice FM on completing his assignment.
Mr. Sun is likely to helm India affairs for the Chinese Foreign Ministry in President Xi Jinping’s third term following an expected reshuffle in the Chinese Foreign Ministry in coming months.
At last month’s Party Congress, the current Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whose term ends in March 2023, was promoted to the 25-member Politburo and is likely to replace retiring Yang Jiechi as Director of the Party’s Central Commission for Foreign Affairs as the next top diplomat.
The current envoy in the U.S. and Mr. Xi’s former protocol chief Qin Gang, was at the congress appointed to the Central Committee, and may be in line to succeed Mr. Wang as Foreign Minister next year. Mr. Wang is also unlikely to continue as the Special Representative on the India-China border talks, a position expected to be taken up by his successor.