|China's ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai responds to questions from reporters during an interview with Reuters in Washington on Nov 6, 2018. (File photo by= Reuters/Jim Bourg)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] BEIJING: Cui Tiankai, China's longest-serving ambassador to Washington, announced on Tuesday (Jun 22) that he will be leaving his post after eight years, departing at a time of strained relations between the world's two largest economies, Reuters reported.
68-year-old Cui, who is past the retirement age of 65 for senior Chinese diplomats, was known for keeping his cool during the often heated disagreements between Beijing and the administration of former President Donald Trump.Qin also served Xi as his chief protocol officer between 2014 to 2018, a period during which Xi traveled abroad frequently and hosted many high-profile domestic events. Making his departure public in a farewell letter posted on the embassy's website, Ambassador Cui wrote: "I will forever treasure the deep friendship forged with the Chinese nationals here during my posting in the United States."'
China's foreign ministry declined to comment on Tuesday on who would succeed Cui, but sources with knowledge of the matter have told Reuters that Qin Gang, 55, a foreign ministry vice minister and trusted aide of President Xi Jinping, is expected to take over as ambassador to Washington.