China has removed Qin Gang as foreign minister less than seven months after he was appointed to the post.
The role will be taken up by the Communist Party’s foreign affairs chief, Wang Yi, who was previously foreign minister.
Mr Qin’s prolonged disappearance from public view – and his ministry’s silence over it – has fuelled furious speculation.
The 57-year-old’s last known public engagements were on 25 June.
Appointed to his post last December, Mr Qin was seen as a trusted aide of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“China’s top legislature voted to appoint Wang Yi as foreign minister,” state news agency Xinhua said.
“Qin Gang was removed from the post of foreign minister.”
No reason was given for Mr Qin’s removal, but the report said President Xi had signed the decree authorising the move.
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