TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China’s new ambassador to Australia will be Xiao Qian (肖千), whom Australian diplomatic sources say marks a shift by Beijing away from the confrontational “wolf warriors” toward a more sophisticated kind of diplomat.
Beijing’s appointment of Xiao, who is currently China’s ambassador to Indonesia, has been agreed to by the Morrison government, according to a report by The Australian, the country’s most widely-read daily.
“He is not a wolf warrior type,” one senior diplomatic source told The Australian. “He is known as a very smart diplomat and a very tough negotiator. We will have to watch how he behaves under the current regime,” they said.
“It’s possible that Beijing is aware of the inefficiency of that (wolf warrior) style of diplomacy in Australia, and it may be that they are going to take a more sophisticated approach,” they concluded.
Despite possessing a gentler touch than his predecessor Cheng Jing-ye (成競業), Xiao has always stuck to the letter on Beijing’s key talking points. He has also put out controversial views that have raised eyebrows, such as in September for example, when he penned an opinion article in the Jakarta Post suggesting that COVID-19 (previously known as the Wuhan coronavirus) originated in the U.S. and not China.
Without a hint of irony, Xiao claimed the U.S. was “not being transparent, responsible and co-operative on this issue.” Xiao has also staunchly defended China’s treatment of the Uighurs, even in Indonesia, where sensitivities around the issue are high.