HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has been ousted from his post, state media reported Tuesday, deepening a mystery that began a month ago when the prominent diplomat disappeared from public view.

According to Xinhua, China’s state news agency, he was succeeded by Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat and Qin’s predecessor.

No reason was given for the removal.

Regarded as a rapidly rising protégé of President Xi Jinping, Qin, 57, was China’s ambassador to the United States from July 2021 until he was promoted to foreign minister in December. Qin was an early adopter of the combative rhetoric later known as China’s «wolf warrior diplomacy.»

Qin was last seen in public on June 25 in Beijing after meeting with officials from Sri Lanka, Russia and Vietnam. He did not attend the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers’ meeting in Indonesia this month due to what China’s foreign ministry said was an unspecified health problem.

Before the Chinese envoy disappeared, Qin actively participated in diplomatic events. Following his meeting in Beijing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on June 18, he was absent during visits by other top US officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US climate envoy John Kerry.

It was Wang who met Blinken at the ASEAN event in Indonesia this month.

zhenzhen liu contributed.