China removes Li Shangfu as defence minister

BEIJING (Reuters): China has removed Li Shangfu from his position as defence minister and state councillor, state broadcaster CCTV said on Tuesday.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top lawmakers, also voted to remove former foreign minister Qin Gang from his position as state councillor, CCTV said.

The committee appointed Yin Hejun as China’s science and technology minister and Lan Foan as finance minister.

Li is the second minister to experience an unexpected dismissal since Xi Jinping commenced his exceptional third term as the leader of the party in October of last year. In July, Qin Gang was succeeded as foreign minister by his predecessor Wang Yi after a similarly unexplained retreat from public activities. The cause behind Qin’s removal remains undisclosed.


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The announcement was made a day before a Pentagon delegation was set to visit Beijing for a regional security forum, which was seen as a step toward restarting high-level military discussions between the two sides. In contrast to their Western counterparts, Chinese foreign and defence ministers predominantly serve as implementers of policies, rather than the primary decision-makers.



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