Despite repeated claims from Beijing that they intend to change, at least the tone, of their belligerent diplomatic behavior, Qin Gang, China’s new ambassador to the U.S., was an early pioneer of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) aggressive “wolf warrior” style of diplomacy. As a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, he would mock members of the media, once telling a journalist: “I hope you can report based on reality, not based on your delusions.”
And this week highlighted the belligerent approach when China used Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s meetings with officials in Tianjin to bombard the U.S. with harsh criticism.
But Politico’s National Security Daily (NSD) writes:
…upon taking up his new post this week, Beijing’s latest envoy struck a soothing tone at a time of high tensions with the United States. He promised to “endeavor to bring China-U.S. relations back on track, turning the way for the two countries to get along with each other.”
However, it adds: “Pretty much no one in Washington is buying it.” This belligerent, in-your-face style is increasingly defining Beijing’s approach to the United States and the world. NSD continues:
Whether in the Biden administration or the broader D.C. foreign policy establishment, the expectation is that Qin will be an undiplomatic diplomat — one happy to toss rhetorical spears at his hosts. Simply the fact that Qin was chosen for a job long held by the more traditional, low-key CUI TIANKAI is a signal that Beijing isn’t planning to play nice anytime soon, China watchers say.
Some caveats, of course: Diplomats don’t have that much power in the Chinese communist ruling structure, and it’s not quite clear how close Qin is with the man who really matters, Chinese leader XI JINPING.
Either way, Ambassador Qin will need to prove himself to be credible, especially regarding human rights for the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. U.S. lawmakers from both parties recently slammed Beijing for its abuses — especially its crackdown on Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region during a hearing about corporate sponsorship of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.
Human Rights Watch’s Sophie Richardson, recently sanctioned by Beijing, said Qin will lack credibility in Washington unless he honestly confronts such allegations.
NSD quoted her as saying: “I will be watching very closely to see if his superficial assertiveness is actually underpinned by a willingness to engage in factual discussions, instead of saying all is peaceful and harmonious and everyone is happy in Xinjiang.” ADN