Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

Qin Gang’s First Foreign Visit as FM Busted Some Conventions

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister welcomes his Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, during a brief refuelling layover at Dhaka's international airport on January 10, 2023. Image via United News of Bangladesh.

China has made it a 32-year custom that its Foreign Minister’s first foreign trip of the year is always to Africa. However, this year Qin Gang broke this tradition by stopping en route in Dhaka for a brief meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart at the airport. 

As Shannon Tiezzi points out in a column in The Diplomat, this is highly unusual and could reveal a tight spot in China-Bangladesh relations. Key factors include a massive trade deficit as Bangladesh’s foreign reserves suffer under the Ukraine war and ongoing disputes with China’s ally Myanmar about the Rohingya refugee crisis. Whatever the reason, it made for some awkward symbolism:

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.