China removes outspoken Foreign Minister Qin Gang; replaces him with predecessor Wang Yi

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, June 18, 2023. [AP Photo]

China has removed outspoken Foreign Minister Qin Gang from office and replaced him with his predecessor, Wang Yi.

In an announcement on Tuesday evening, state media gave no reason for Qin’s removal, but it comes after he dropped out of sight almost one month ago amid speculation over his personal affairs and political rivalries.

The ministry has provided no information about Qin's status in keeping with the ruling Communist Party’s standard approach to personnel matters within a highly opaque political system where the media and free speech are severely restricted.

The ministry made no comment at its daily briefing on Tuesday. The move comes amid a foreign backlash against China's increasingly aggressive foreign policy, of which Qin was a chief proponent.