China plays down replacement of its envoy to India

China on Tuesday sought to play down the hush-hush replacement of its previous ambassador to India just ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit, saying such things happen in diplomacy.

Beijing: China on Tuesday sought to play down the hush-hush replacement of its previous ambassador to India just ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit, saying such things happen in diplomacy.

An intense speculation surrounded China's ambassador to India, Wei Wei's, unusual departure ahead of the Chinese President's state visit on September 17.

The sudden exit had caused speculation that he may have been recalled.

"The nominations and dismissals do happen in diplomacy," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying told media here while answering a question why Wei was replaced ahead of Xi's visit or whether he was involved in some wrong doing.

The appointment of Wei's successor, Le Yucheng, was reported by state-run Xinhua news agency on September 16, a day ahead of Xi's visit.

Since then, there was no word about Wei's new posting.

A career diplomat and a law post-graduate, Wei served as an ambassador to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Brunei and Singapore before being sent to India in January 2013.

Wei's predecessor Zhang Yan had served for four years in India and was later appointed Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation.

Days before Wei's exit, China's Ambassador to Iceland from 2012 until January this year, Ma Jisheng, went missing amid reports that he was arrested over allegations that he spied for Japan while working at a Chinese diplomatic mission there.

Chinese Foreign Ministry has parried questions about his arrest.  

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