Four months after the disappearance of Li Shangfu, China appoints a new defense minister

China has appointed Dong Jun as its new defense minister, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, December 29, citing a decision by the standing committee of the National People's Congress, China's parliament

Four months after the disappearance of Li Shangfu, China appoints a new defense minister

China has appointed Dong Jun as its new defense minister, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, December 29, citing a decision by the standing committee of the National People's Congress, China's parliament.

The position had been vacant since the dismissal in October of his predecessor, Li Shangfu, whose last public appearance was at the end of August. No reason was ever given for his ouster after just seven months in office.

Born in 1961, Dong Jun was promoted to navy commander in August 2021. He was previously a vice-in-charge of the Chinese military's Southern Command, which includes the South China Sea as its area of ​​operation, where territorial disputes pit Beijing against neighboring countries.

Promotion surprise

This promotion is a surprise. Analysts expected Liu Zhenli, a 59-year-old general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to become China's new defense minister. He notably spoke last week with his American counterpart, General Charles Q. Brun Jr, during the first high-level call in more than a year between the military of the two leading world powers.

The appointment in China of a new defense minister comes after a reshuffle at the head of the Chinese army unit responsible for strategic missiles, particularly nuclear ones.

In July, the authorities announced that they would provide this unit with new management without explaining this change. Media reports then reported a corruption investigation involving his former boss, who had not been seen in public for weeks.