China likely to appoint North Korea, Japan expert as foreign minister
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China is likely to appoint an expert on Japan and North Korea as its next foreign minister, three independent sources said, in a measure of Beijing's resolve to improve difficult relationships with two of its closest neighbours.
Barring last-minute changes, Wang Yi, 59, China's ambassador to Japan from 2004 to 2007, was likely to be appointed foreign minister during the annual full session of parliament next month, the sources said.
A fluent Japanese speaker, he was China's main representative to the six-party talks on North Korea from 2007-2008, and was a counsellor and later minister counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo from 1989 to 1994.
"China is sending a signal that Sino-Japanese relations will be the most important of important issues," a source with ties to the leadership told Reuters, requesting anonymity to avoid repercussions for speaking to foreign reporters.