China's Foreign Ministry has three new deputy heads

09:20, January 05, 2010      

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The government Monday named three new deputy heads for the Foreign Ministry, appointments which analysts said appeared to deal with a heavier diplomatic workload amid the country's rising global status.

Three veteran diplomats, Cui Tiankai, 58, Fu Ying, 57, and Zhai Jun, 56, were appointed vice-ministers, according to a statement released by the State Council on the first working day this year.

The outgoing vice-ministers are Wu Dawei and He Yafei. Wu, 64, is four years past the retirement age. The statement did not say whether 55-year-old He will be appointed to another post.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has said Chinese leaders have a heavy diplomatic schedule this year.

Shi Yinhong, an expert on international studies at Beijing-based Renmin University of China, said the country faces growing international challenges.

"Many nations want China to shoulder heavier international responsibility on a range of issues" such as climate change, the foreign exchange policy and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Shi said.

To help resolve these matters, more diplomatic efforts are needed, he said.

All three new vice-ministers have more than 30 years of diplomatic experience. Cui, former ambassador to Japan, is expected to take charge of Asian affairs. Fu, former ambassador to the United Kingdom, is expected to handle European affairs, and Zhai, a former assistant minister, African affairs.

Fan Ying, a professor at Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, said: "These three officials rose through the ranks and have served in various countries. This shows China will nurture senior diplomats systematically, compared with the previously common practice of parachuting senior officials from other departments."

Of the trio, Fu, of Mongolian ethnicity, grabbed most media attention yesterday because she is only the second woman vice-minister in the ministry. The first was Wang Hairong, who was appointed in 1974 and served for five years.

Source: China Daily
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