For­mer Chi­nese top diplo­mat Qian Qichen dies

Cape Breton Post - - In Memoriam -

A for­mer Chi­nese vice-pre­mier and top diplo­mat who over­saw the han­dover of Hong Kong from Bri­tain to China has died in Bei­jing at the age of 90, state me­dia said Wed­nes­day.

Cit­ing an of­fi­cial state­ment, the Xin­hua News Agency said Qian Qichen died of an un­spec­i­fied ill­ness on Tues­day night.

The Shang­hai-born vet­eran diplo­mat was chair­man of a com­mit­tee China ap­pointed to pre­pare for Hong Kong’s change of sovereignty in 1997.

Qian was also the coun­try’s top for­eign af­fairs of­fi­cial in 2001 when re­la­tions with the United States took a steep down­turn af­ter a U.S. Navy sur­veil­lance plane col­lided with a Chi­nese fighter jet over the South China Sea. The Chi­nese plane crashed, killing the pi­lot.

Qian’s diplo­matic career started in 1955 when he worked in the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Moscow, re­turn­ing home in 1963.

Xin­hua said Qian, who spoke English and Rus­sian, was ``an out­stand­ing leader in diplo­macy of the coun­try.’’

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