|Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission General Office|
|Assumed office |
|General Secretary||Xi Jinping|
|Preceded by||Dai Bingguo|
|State Councillor of the People's Republic of China|
16 March 2013 – 19 March 2018
|10th Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China|
27 April 2007 – 16 March 2013
|Preceded by||Li Zhaoxing|
|Succeeded by||Wang Yi|
|Born||1 May 1950|
Shanghai, People's Republic of China
|Political party||Communist Party of China (1971-present)|
|Alma mater||Shanghai Foreign Language School|
University of Bath
London School of Economics
Nanjing University, PhD
Yang Jiechi (Chinese: 杨洁篪; born 1 May 1950) is a high-ranking Chinese politician and diplomat, who is serving as a member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party.
Yang spent much of his professional life in the United States, where he was the Chinese Ambassador from 2001 to 2005. He served as the Foreign Minister of China between 2007 and 2013. Since 2013, he has been the secretary-general, later renamed director of the general office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, the highest diplomatic position under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping. He is generally regarded as one of the foremost contemporary architects of China's foreign policy.
Yang has also been a CCP Politburo member since 2017. He joined the inner circle of the State Council in 2013, as a State Councilor under Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
In March 2021, Yang headed the Chinese delegation at the United States–China talks in Alaska for a strategic dialogue with his US counterparts, where he has made a number confrontational critical statements about American foreign policy. Although these statements were criticized as undiplomatic by the Americans, they were reportedly popular and widely praised in China.
Yang was born in Shanghai on 1 May 1950. In 1963, Yang Jiechi was admitted to the Shanghai Foreign Language School. Affected by the Cultural Revolution, he dropped out of school in 1968 and entered Shanghai Pujiang Electric Meter Factory as a worker. During the four years in the factory, he still insisted on learning English and maintained his foreign language proficiency. After President Nixon visited China in 1972, Zhou Enlai instructed that we should accelerate the training of new foreign language talents to meet the needs of the development of the international situation. In 1972 and 1973, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs selected more than 130 people. Yang was selected. He graduated from Shanghai Foreign Language School and attended the Ealing College, University of Bath and the London School of Economics from 1973 to 1975. From 2001 to 2006, He received a PhD in World History from Nanjing University through distance education while serving as Chinese ambassador to the United States.
He was previously a diplomat in the United States, beginning as a Second Secretary in 1983 and later as Ambassador from 2001 to 2005, and as Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for Latin America and Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. During the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989, Yang accompanied Wan Li, the chairman of the National People's Congress, on a trip to North America.
During his tenure as ambassador to the United States, Yang worked to ease the tensions between the two countries following the 2001 mid-air collision between a U.S. EP-3 spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet off the coast of Hainan Island in the South China Sea.
In April 2007, Yang replaced Li Zhaoxing, who had been China's foreign minister since 2003, as the tenth foreign minister of China.
In July 2010 at the ASEAN Ministers Conference in Hanoi, Yang, responding to remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, called the remarks "an attack on China" and told Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo that "China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's just a fact." However, Yang issued a statement on the Foreign Ministry's Web site saying that there was no need to internationalize the issue, that China was still intent on solving all of the disputes bilaterally.
In a meeting with Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr, Yang criticized the decision to put US Marines in Australia's Northern Territory by stating to Carr "Cold War alliances" were out of date, to which Carr "reminded Yang that Chinese leaders like to relate the story of the Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He who took powerful Chinese fleets as far afield as India and Arabia but sought to occupy no lands".
In 2013, Yang Jiechi met with Japan's new ambassador to China and leader of Japan's New Komeito party. Yang also held group meetings with ambassadors from EU and its member states. He also met with Moo-sung Kim, Special envoy of South Korea's president-elect Park Geun-hye, to strengthen ties with South Korea. Yang has also made pledges for more contribution to world peace.
At the first plenary session of the 12th National People's Congress in March 2013, Yang Jiechi was elected as State Councilor.
Yang was a member of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. He was also a member of the 17th CCP Central Committee and an alternate member of the 16th CCP Central Committee. He was elevated to the decision making Politburo at the 19th CCP Congress in October 2017.
In 2019 Yang was described as "the most senior Chinese official to attend [the] Munich Security Conference since it began in 1963." He gave a keynote address.
In March 2021, Yang led the Chinese delegation for a strategic dialogue with the US in Alaska. The US team was headed by the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in the first interaction with China during the Biden Administration. In the opening session in the presence of media, after 2-minute opening remarks by Blinken, Yang responded with an unexpected 16-minute speech. He said that it was necessitated by the "tone" of the US delegation. He harangued the United States for its human rights record, called it a global "champion of cyber attacks", and declared that "many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States".
So for China, it was necessary that we made our position clear. So let me say here that, in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.
These remarks went viral in China and Yang was praised for his forthrightness. The Washington Post said that the Biden Administration gets a taste of China's "wolf warrior" diplomacy.
In October 2021, Yang travelled to Zürich, Switzerland to meet with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to further discuss current issues regarding diplomatic relations and a possible virtual meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The virtual summit between the leaders eventually happened on 16 November 2021.
Yang Jiechi received an honorary degree from the Geneva School of Diplomacy in 2009. It was announced by the President of Pakistan on 14 August 2012 that Hilal-i-Pakistan (Crescent of Pakistan) would be given to Yang Jiechi on 23 March 2013.
George H. W. Bush said Yang Jiechi's other name is "Tiger Yang", because Yang Jiechi was born in 1950, the year of the Tiger according to the Chinese zodiac, and because his name, "Chi" (篪) contains a variant of "Hu" (虎, Tiger).
Yang's daughter, Alice Yang, graduated from Yale.