Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Tokyo [Japan], September 15 (ANI): The US ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, on Friday raised questions over the absence of Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu's absence from the public view for three weeks. Emanuel asked whether Li Shangfu missed his meeting with the Singaporean Chief of Navy as he has been placed under house arrest.

In a post shared on X, Rahm Emanuel referenced a quote from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." In the post, the US diplomat also used the hashtag "MysteryInBeijingBuilding." Emanuel posted further, "As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet,"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." 1st: Defense Minister Li Shangfu hasn't been seen or heard from in 3 weeks. 2nd: He was a no-show for his trip to Vietnam. Now: He's absent from his scheduled meeting with the Singaporean Chief of Navy because he was placed on house arrest???...

Might be getting crowded in there. Good news is I heard he's paid off his mortgage with the Country Garden real estate developers."Li Shangfu was last seen on August 29, when he made an address at the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum in Beijing, according to The Washington Post report.

Earlier in August, he visited Belarus and Russia. He held a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu in Moscow.

He is due to take part in a major international defence and security conference at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, The Washington Post reported. Li, who was appointed China's minister in March, is one of five state councillors.

Li Shangfu is the second senior government minister to have a prolonged absence from public view after China's former foreign minister Qin Gang was sacked in July. Earlier on July 25, China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who had been missing from the public eye for over a month was replaced by Wang Yi by the country's Parliament, reported state media Xinhua. Wang Yi had previously served as the country's foreign minister for nearly 10 months.

The voting for the same was held at the fourth session of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), according to Xinhua. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order to effectuate the decision.

Qin was last seen in public on June 25, when he met his counterparts from Russia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. His planned meetings since then have either been cancelled, or top diplomat Wang has gone in Qin's place, The Washington Post reported. Wang had represented China at diplomatic summits in Jakarta and Johannesburg in place of Qin.

The US publication stated that Qin's removal preceded weeks of silence during which Qin's own ministry refused to provide any information regarding his whereabouts, there has been wild speculation about everything from significant political or personal missteps to a serious sickness.

A week before Qin vanished, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met him in Beijing, and they made an agreement that the Chinese foreign minister would reciprocate by travelling to Washington, according to the Washington Post. (ANI)

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