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Who's Who

Yang Jiechi

The following report regarding Yang Jiechi is from MercoPress

New Chinese Foreign Secretary UK educated, US expert

China announced Friday the appointment of a new Foreign Affairs Minister, replacing veteran diplomat Li Zhaoxing with a younger Yang Jiechi, who is a former ambassador to the United States.
 

The move comes at a time when China has begun to pursue a newly active diplomacy, mending fences with neighbors and wooing countries that can supply the oil and commodities needed to keep its economy growing in double digits.

The new appointment was announced by Xinhua, the country`s official news agency. No reason was given for the change aside from a reference to Mr. Li`s age. At 66, Mr. Li is older than the norm for officials in China who usually retire at 65. A Cabinet reshuffle had been widely expected in the run-up to a once-every-five year Communist Party conclave that will be held later this year.

Mr. Yang, 57, is fluent in English he is a Shanghai native with degrees from Bath University as well as the London School of Economics. Yang worked in China`s embassy in Washington during the 1980s and 1990s and served as ambassador from 2001 to 2005.

Back in Beijing, Yang was vice foreign minister mainly in charge of Latin American affairs and foreign-related affairs involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. He was also seen frequently receiving high-ranking U.S. officials in Beijing. Last November, Yang co-chaired the third China-U.S. strategic dialogue in Beijing with U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.

The Xinhua statement said Mr. Yang was known for his ability to "tread a fine line in both firmly defending China`s national interests and maintaining smooth and stable ties with the United States." Shortly after becoming ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Yang was praised for his work in defusing tensions after a U.S. spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001.

Besides Mr. Yang`s appointment, China also named new Ministers of Water Resources, Science and Technology, and Land Resources. Wan Gang, a non-Communist party member, is China’s new minister of science and technology. Wan is a member of the China Zhi Gong (Public Interest) Party and the only current non-Communist Party minister in China`s State Council.

Founded in 1925, the China Zhi Gong Party is mainly composed of returned overseas Chinese, relatives of overseas Chinese, and noted figures and scholars who have overseas ties. A former automobile engineer at the Audi Corporation in Germany, Wan, born in Shanghai in August 1952, was president of Shanghai`s Tongji University before his new appointment.

Xu Shaoshi, 55, is the new Minister of Land and Resources, replacing Sun Wensheng.
Almost in coincidence with the cabinet reshuffle China`s top political advisor Jia Qinglin on Saturday called for further efforts to improve direct transport services between the mainland and Taiwan.

Jia said the mainland hopes civil aviation and shipping organizations across the Taiwan Strait will pursue consultations on the issue. Direct transport links between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan were cut off after the civil war in the late 1940s but after years of negotiations some direct transportation between the mainland and Taiwan was reestablished.

In 2001, Fujian Province opened a direct ferry service with Jinmen and Mazu in Taiwan. In 2006, a third direct shipping route was opened between Fujian`s Quanzhou and Jinmen. In 2005, airline companies on the mainland and in Taiwan began operating non-stop charter flights across the Taiwan Strait for major traditional Chinese holidays.

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