During 1949–1954, Qian remained in Shanghai as secretary and researcher of the Communist Youth League Committee. In 1954 he went to Moscow, where he studied in the Central Communist Youth League School. Graduating in 1955, he became second secretary in the Chinese ambassadorial delegation to the Soviet Union. In 1962 he became counselor of the Chinese embassy in Moscow. In autumn 1974 he was appointed ambassador to Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.
Qian returned to China in 1977 and assumed the directorship of the Information Department in the Foreign Ministry, a post he held until 1982. During his tenure he led a number of governmental delegations abroad, fostering closer ties with the West after the Sino-American rapprochement and the normalization of relations between the two countries. In 1982 he assumed the post of vice foreign minister and was responsible for restoring Sino-Soviet relations, having led a number of Sino-Soviet summit meetings. In April 1988 he became foreign minister, representing the PRC in the United Nations (UN) while continuing to promote closer Sino-Soviet ties.
In 1991 and 1993, Qian was appointed state councillor and vice premier, respectively, posts he held until 1998. During his tenure in these offices, he helped establish the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, which ensured the successful implementation of Deng Xiaoping's one country, two systems policy. In March 1998 Qian retired from his high-profile positions, taking up membership in the CCP's Central Committee and the Politburo.
Garver, John W. Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of China. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993.