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.