Senior Chinese official Wang Yi made his first public statement since his reappointment as foreign minister, promising to strengthen partnerships and protect his country’s sovereignty, in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

The veteran Chinese diplomat was reappointed as foreign minister last Tuesday, replacing rising star Qin Gang after a month-long mysterious absence that raised questions about transparency after only seven months in the job.

The Chinese ministry of foreign afairs, said only that Qin had stopped working for unspecified health reasons.

Wang said that the ministry will strengthen partnerships with other countries, take an active part in global governance reform, and resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty, security, development and interests.

Qin Gang was appointed foreign minister in December, but hasn’t appeared in public since June 25, when he met diplomats visiting Beijing.

Wang held the position from 2013 to 2022.

He is also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee.

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