(Reuters) -China’s former Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who was ousted from his position in July, had an extramarital affair while he was ambassador to the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with a briefing.
The report said Qin was cooperating with the investigation, which was now focused on whether the affair or Qin’s conduct had compromised China’s national security.
Senior Chinese officials were told that an internal Communist Party investigation found Qin engaged in the affair throughout his tenure as China’s ambassador to the United States, the report said. Two sources told the newspaper the affair had resulted in the birth of a child in the U.S.
During a regular press briefing on Tuesday, China foreign ministry spokeperson Mao Ning was asked about the article and said: “on the appointment and removal of the Chinese foreign minister, the Chinese side has released information before and I am not aware of the other information you mentioned”.
Qin was replaced by veteran diplomat Wang Yi in July as the foreign minister after a mysterious one-month absence from duties barely half a year into the job.
He was China’s top envoy in Washington from July 2021 until January this year.
(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Neil Fullick and Michael Perry)