China has new defense minister — RT World News

The Chinese government appointed the Supreme Commander of its Navy as Minister of Defense. The move comes after the previous incumbent was dismissed in late October amid reports of his involvement in a corruption scandal.

On Friday, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress – the permanent body of the country's legislature – made a series of personnel decisions, including the appointment of Admiral Dong Jun as Minister of National Defense. The 62-year-old rose steadily through the ranks of the Chinese Navy for many years, becoming its commander in 2021.

Before assuming command of the Navy, Dong served as deputy commander of the Southern Theater Command, responsible for operations in the South China Sea, an arena rife with tensions between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan, the autonomous island controlled by China. Claims as part of its sovereign territory.

Relations between China and the United States became strained this year after Washington approved foreign military sales to Taipei, and with several US officials, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, traveling to the island. Beijing described these moves as an attack on China's sovereignty and an attempt to destabilize regional stability.

Dong's appointment comes after Beijing fired former Defense Minister Li Changfu in late October without providing any public explanation for the dismissal. Before that, he had not appeared in public since last August, which sparked speculation in Western media. But in September, Reuters reported, citing multiple sources, that Lee was under investigation for alleged corruption during the procurement of military equipment.

Lee was also placed on a US sanctions list in 2018 for his alleged role in purchasing Russian equipment, which, according to the Financial Times, was a major reason for his inability to directly participate in talks with US defense officials. Unlike Lee, Dong Joon is not known to be subject to such restrictions.

Meanwhile, despite tense Sino-US relations, US President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping agreed during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last month to resume high-level military contacts between the two countries. As a result, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown held talks with his Chinese counterpart Liu Chenlei last week to discuss “A number of global and regional security issues” According to the Pentagon.

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