Ambassador Wei Wei
DHARAMSHALA, January 17: China has appointed career diplomat Wei Wei, 57, as the country’s new ambassador to India, replacing Zhang Yan.
Wei, who holds a master’s degree in law according to his official biography, earlier served as the Ambassador to Singapore since 2010. He has extensive experience in Africa, formerly serving as China’s Ambassador to Brunei, and as a senior diplomat in Embassies in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.
Wei takes charge amid a sweeping once-in-ten year leadership change in the Chinese government, with the Communist Party’s fifth generation of leadership asserting control – a transition that culminate in March with the recently-selected general secretary Xi Jinping replacing Hu Jintao as President.
Wei’s tenure in New Delhi has been preceded by warming-up of relations between India and China. The two countries, earlier this week, agreed to resume their joint military exercises and expand their exchanges to include Armies, Navies, and Air Forces during the fifth Annual Defence Dialogue held in Beijing. Defence ties between the two Asian giants were earlier suspended for almost a year after China refused to issue a visa to the then head of the Indian Northern Command.
Also recently, Xi Jinping in a letter had assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that his country would pay "great importance" to developing bilateral ties as their cooperation has brought "substantial benefits" to both sides.
"China will, as it has been doing, pay great importance to developing relations with India and expects to carry out close cooperation with India to create a brighter future of their bilateral relations," Xi wrote in a letter to Singh last week.
Former ambassador Zhang Yan, who served for four years in India, has been appointed as the 6th Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation.