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China Names New Envoy to Washington

From Reuters

China appointed a new ambassador to the United States on Thursday as his predecessor’s term of office expired, state television said.

Zhu Qizhen, 61, will replace Han Xu, who went to Washington in May, 1985. His appointment was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s nominal parliament.

A vice foreign minister, Zhu is head of the Foreign Ministry’s department of American and Oceanian affairs. In the early 1970s, he was China’s first charge d’affaires in Australia on the opening of full Sino-Australian ties.

Western diplomats in Beijing said the change was almost certainly not caused by the political turmoil in China or the recent deterioration in relations with the United States.

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“Zhu is an obvious person. He’s followed the right career path,” said one diplomat, adding that the appointment had been rumored for several months.

The United States has suspended arms sales to China to protest the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators June 3-4, while Beijing has condemned Washington for giving refuge to dissident Fang Lizhi and his wife in the U.S. Embassy.


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