National / Politics

China's new ambassador — a Japan expert — to start work in Tokyo on Thursday

Kyodo

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou will assume his duties as ambassador to Japan on Thursday, according to the Chinese Embassy.

Kong, considered an expert on Japan, will become Beijing’s man in Tokyo after Cheng Yonghua ends what has been an unusually long stint in the post.

Kong will take the position around a month before Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Japan in June for the Group of 20 summit in Osaka. It will be Xi’s first trip to Japan since he came to power in 2013.

Educated at Shanghai International Studies University, where he majored in Japanese, Kong is a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Vietnam and assistant foreign minister before becoming vice foreign minister in 2017.

Kong has doubled as China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs at a time when the international community is closely watching whether North Korea will denuclearize as its leader Kim Jong Un has pledged.