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China’s newly appointed FM Wang Yi heads to Turkey, will meet Erdogan

The meeting with Erdogan and Turkish FM Fidan will mark the first high-level visit from a Chinese official since 2021.
China Yi

ANKARA — China’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Wang Yi will travel to Turkey on Wednesday in one of his first foreign trips, less than 48 hours after he assumed the post on Tuesday. 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that Wang and his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, would discuss bilateral relations as well as current regional and global developments during the their meeting

Wang’s trip was planned before his appointment as the Asian powerhouse’s new foreign minister. Chinese officials announced last week that Yi would travel to Turkey as part of a foreign tour including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.  

Wang’s previous office was as the Chinese Communist Party’s senior member for foreign affairs, a separate and a higher-ranking position than foreign minister in China. Qin Gang was tapped as the foreign minister seven months ago, but he has been absent from public view for the past month before he was ousted on Tuesday. 

Wang is expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in what marks the highest-level visit from a Chinese official to Turkey since 2021. Then, Wang visited to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Ankara and Beijing, two years after Erdogan made a state visit to Beijing in 2019. 

Wang served as China’s foreign minister from 2013 to 2022, prior to Qin's appointment to the post. 

Economic cooperation between the countries, including China’s Road and Belt initiative, are expected to be an important agenda item in the talks between Fidan and Wang on Wednesday as the Turkish government is scrambling to ease its foreign currency crisis. 

Wang's visit comes as more than 70 Chinese defense, logistics and information technology companies are taking part in the International Defense Industry Fair 2023 (IDEF’23), held in Istanbul this week. 

Eager to improve economic ties with Beijing, Ankara has significantly toned down its criticism towards China's treatment of its Uyghur minority.

Before traveling to Turkey, Wang attended a multinational meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday . 

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