A former Cardiff University law student will become China’s new ambassador to the UK.
Zheng Zeguang, who is currently China’s vice-foreign minister, will take over from the current envoy Liu Xiaoming who has been in the post since 2010.
Zheng Zeguang is a US affairs specialist who had previously been seen as a contender to take charge at the Washington embassy.
The development was announced by Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, after a session of the committee on Saturday.
Zheng started his diplomatic career in 1986 after studying at Cardiff University and has concentrated on US issues since 1990.
He has served as the foreign ministry’s director of North American affairs and as a counsellor in the US embassy between 2005 and 2008. In 2015 he was promoted to foreign vice-minister.
“Sending him to the UK means Zheng will not be posted to the US,” Pang Zhongying, an international specialist at the Ocean University of China, told the South China Morning Post. “And it seems that Zheng has reached the top of his career with the posting to UK.”
The change at the London embassy comes amid worsening relations between the two countries. China has recently been angered by the British decision to give residency rights to Hongkongers who hold British National (Overseas) passports and a pathway to citizenship.