onsdag 13. oktober 2021

The Man Behind Xi Jinping’s Foreign Policy

The daunting task of keeping up with Xi Jinping’s foreign policy ambitions fell to Wang Yi. Born in Beijing in 1953, the same year as Xi, Wang also spent a good chunk of his adolescence as a “sent down” youth during the Cultural Revolution, when he spent eight years laboring on a farm in the northeast. Always a harder worker than others, Wang taught himself literature and history, a former classmate told the Christian Science Monitor. He was “quite open minded. He did not just accept what he was told,” the classmate remembered.

After the Cultural Revolution, Wang was admitted to Beijing International Studies University, a foreign ministry feeder school. He then joined the Asian Affairs Department in the foreign ministry and started climbing the ranks as a Japan specialist. He became fluent in both Japanese and English and even spent a year in Washington studying at Georgetown University from 1997 to 1998.

Wang’s background was modest but, like Li Zhaoxing and Dai Bingguo before him, he married into China’s foreign policy aristocracy. Wang’s father-in-law, Qian Jiadong, had been one of Zhou Enlai’s top aides and China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.