China shunts out ‘wolf warrior’ diplomat; Beijing bends back to mend ties with Washington

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 9: For past one week, the social media was full of speculation about the whereabouts of China’s ‘wolf warrior’ diplomat, who fumed venom at the US. He had claimed in a tweet in 2020 that a US military jet had brought the Coronavirus to Wuhan, the epicenter of the global pandemic, which wreaked havoc with the world for three years.

Zhao Lijian was the firebrand spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. For about two weeks, we was missing from the action, after he was seen struggling to react when the popular protest gripped China. Subsequently, China had to abandon the ‘Zero Covid Policy’ after the pandemic tsunami swept through the country, killing an unaccounted number of the people.

News agencies reported that Zhao had been shunted to a non-descript department by the Communist Chinese administration. He will be serving in the department of land in China, it was stated by the news agencies. Zhai had built a reputation of a combative diplomat, and the US most often used to be the subject of his ire.

Shunting of Zhao has come in the wake of China making a desperate attempt to med ties with the US. Beijing had recalled its US ambassador Qin Gang to make him the Foreign Minister. The sole consideration for the change of the Foreign Minister was that the new face was a soft voice, known for his non-combative approach to engage the international community. Zhao had previousley been Chinese ambassador in Pakistan.

Zhao’s shunting and Qin’s appointment as the Foreign Minister signal clearly that China is seeking to mend ways with Washington, after the US-led western block showed clear intent to not let China go unpunished for its pandemic opaqueness and also for artificially hurting the global supply chains with ‘Zero Covid Policy’, which baffled the virologists world over. Also, China’s President Xi Jinping faced heat during his two-hour long summit with the US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The US had come out with the Indo Pacific Economic Partnership Forum on the sidelines of QUAD meeting in Tokyo last year, with multi-billion dollar plan solely to counter China in the developing countries with plan to fund the infrastructure projects in competition to Xi’s pet Belt and Road Initiative.

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