Beijing, Dec 29 (EFE).- China on Friday appointed former navy chief Dong Jun as its new defense minister, replacing Li Shangfu, who was dismissed two months ago under unspecified circumstances.
Lawmakers at the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, confirmed Dong’s appointment, as reported by the state-run China Daily.
Dong, 62, is a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and has served as the deputy commander of the Southern Theatre Command in the South China Sea, a region China claims.
He has also held the second-highest commander position of the East Sea Fleet of the Eastern Theatre Command, considered crucial for China’s militaristic ambitions, particularly regarding Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China regards as its own.
Dong, with an extensive history in various high-level military positions, including commanding the powerful Chinese navy, was promoted to the rank of general in September 2021, making him one of the highest-ranking active service officers.
His election to the Communist Party of China Central Committee took place during the 20th National Congress in October 2022.
Engaging in various military diplomatic activities, Dong oversaw joint military exercises between Chinese and foreign forces on the front lines before assuming a leadership role in the PLA Navy.
In early 2020, while serving as the deputy commander of the PLA’s Southern Theatre Command, Dong acted as the general director of the Chinese side of the Sea Guardians-2020 joint naval drill between China and Pakistan, according to the PLA Daily, the Chinese military’s flagship media outlet.
Dong succeeds Li Shangfu, who was dismissed on Oct. 24, two months after disappearing from public view.
Li’s whereabouts remain unknown, as the Chinese state media has not provided an explanation for his disappearance. EFE