Qin returns to UK as minister

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-9-15 3:19:00

Minister Qin Gang speaks at the Chinese embassy in London on Monday night. Photo: Sun Wei

By Sun Wei in London

The newly appointed minister of the Chinese embassy in London is no stranger to the job, but he described his latest posting there as winning the lottery.

"To a diplomat, being posted abroad is something like a lucky draw. Being posted to Britain is like winning the grand prize. I have been posted abroad three times, all to Britain," Minister Qin Gang said in his debut speech in London on Monday night. "I am very lucky indeed."

Qin feels quite attached to the UK. He was the third secretary and the second secretary of the embassy in the UK from 1995 to 1999. He later served as a counselor there from 2002 to 2005.

"It is wonderful to be back in Britain," Qin said. "The more I know about this country, the more I feel I need to know and to understand. I am still a student of Britain."

Before his third posting in London, Qin played a high-profile role as Chinese foreign ministry spokesman. He was responsible for the release of Chinese foreign affairs information and answering media questions from both domestically and abroad during regular press conferences.

Being the public face of China, Qin's witty response to sharp questions raised by foreign media often won over Chinese netizens.

"He has a lot of fans in China," Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said.

"Being an expert in UK affairs, Minister Qin has brought with him his knowledge, insight and experience of Britain," Liu said, wishing him success in dealing with China-UK relations.

Qin's predecessor, Chen Xiaodong, said, "Giving his talents and extensive experience, I have no doubt he will do an outstanding job in his new position."

Qin said that Sino-UK relations are facing more opportunities for further development.

"That means even heavier responsibilities for me," he said, adding that he felt like "an athlete preparing to compete in the 2012 London Olympics."

Qin said he will learn from Chen's experience and "build on his record and try to perform even better."

"He knows Britain quite well. It's up to the Chinese government to appoint the best possible people for an important post," David Lusher, country manager (China) of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, told the Global Times.

Lusher's first impression of Qin is a "comfortable public speaker with good English and personality," and Qin "has a sense of humor."

"It's a continuing succession of very strong, able diplomats coming to the Chinese embassy in London," Lusher said, adding that it's "a reflection of the importance of the relationship between the two countries, and we very much welcome this."

Posted in: Diplomacy

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