Foreign Minister Wang Yi is a rising star in the Chinese establishment. His predecessor, was Yang Jiechi.
What is the India connect?
It has now been confirmed that Mr. Wang will succeed Mr. Yang as China’s Special Representative (SR) in the border talks with India. Mr. Wang is an Asia specialist, with a deep knowledge of Japan. In fact, his initiation at university into Japanese culture and language, which he now speaks like a native, sketched his career path in diplomacy, which he chose over a lifetime in academics. The Indian establishment, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, warmly congratulated Mr. Wang on his elevation as SR. But in the past, Indian officials did have some apprehensions about Mr. Wang’s disposition to New Delhi. “In fact, one of his earlier meetings with Ms. Swaraj had a rocky start,” a senior official told The Hindu. Mr. Wang was also seen as a “hard-liner” during the 72-day Doklam military stand-off last year.
But the Chinese diplomat, an intense man with sharp focus, is known for his stand-out professionalism. His visit to New Delhi in December gave a big push to the revival of the post-Doklam ties, culminating in the Wuhan summit.
Will it help reset ties?
Mr. Wang’s appointment as SR could not be better timed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Xi have just concluded two-day talks at Wuhan. That has set the stage for detailed and fruitful negotiations on the border question, and more.
However, since the 1950s, the bilateral ties have had several false starts. Post-Wuhan, the challenge is to counter influential vested interests and pressure groups in both countries, who are implacably opposed to a solid and forward looking partnership.
(Adapted from The Hindu)