20 March 2018
China has named its former strategic missile force chief as defence minister, completing a shake-up of its top military brass that began last October.
General Wei Fenghe’s appointment yesterday underscored the firm grip that President Xi Jinping now has over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said analysts.
At the CCP national congress last October, Gen Wei was among six generals and an admiral named to a smaller Central Military Commission (CMC), the top body overseeing the PLA and headed by Mr Xi.
“The downsizing of the CMC (from 11 members) and its appointment of Xi’s favoured generals endorsed Xi’s status as China’s new strongman,” said China expert James Char at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
Mr Char noted that Gen Xu Qiliang and Gen Zhang Youxia, who were confirmed as CMC vice-chairmen on Sunday, shared a long history with Mr Xi. The remaining four CMC members had either served in the former Nanjing Military Region that covers Mr Xi’s former Fujian and Zhejiang strongholds, or been groomed for higher office.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 21/03/2018