NewsAdmiral Dong ascends as China's defense minister amid modernization efforts and vanished predecessor

Admiral Dong ascends as China's defense minister amid modernization efforts and vanished predecessor

Changes in the Chinese Ministry of Defense
Changes in the Chinese Ministry of Defense
Images source: © Getty Images | NurPhoto

11:24 AM EST, December 29, 2023

The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee formally approved Dong's appointment, as Xinhua, China's state-run news agency reported.

Reuters emphasizes that 62-year-old Dong is assuming leadership during a period when China's leader, Xi Jinping, is modernizing the armed forces and aiming to establish his country as the dominant global power. This move has raised concerns among China's neighbors.

Contrary to many other nations, the Ministry of Defense has minimal influence over defense policy or military management in China. These duties are the responsibility of the Central Military Commission, headed by Xi. The defense minister acts as the "public face" of the People's Liberation Army during media interaction and dealings with other countries.

Disappearance of the previous minister in August

The former minister, Li Shangfu, has not publicly appeared since August 25. Officials in Beijing have not officially disclosed any reason for his absence or removal from his posts – the defense minister and state councilor –in October.

Based on reports from anonymous sources, Reuters disclosed that Li was under investigation due to alleged corruption in procuring and modernizing military equipment.

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