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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A US-endorsed general has been appointed to the post of China’s new Minister of Defense.

Li Shangfu, a 65-year-old general who faces US sanctions, has been named China’s new defense minister. This decision was made in the National People’s Congress on March 12 informed Xinhua.

In this position, Shangfu will replace outgoing defense chief Wei Fenghe. writing Bloomberg. His resignation was expected after he resigned from the Central Military Council at the Communist Party Congress in October.

Shangfu was also elected as a state councilor, Xinhua reports.

Bloomberg predicts that the appointment of Shangfu as head of the Ministry of Defense could create additional difficulties in relations between Beijing and Washington, already aggravated, in particular, due to the question of Taiwan, as well as the situation with a Balloon Chinese reconnaissance aircraft shot down over US territory in early February.

Shangfu’s appointment as the Ministry of Defense of the People’s Republic of China also signals Beijing’s growing interest in aerospace technology, the agency said.

According to Bloomberg, a possible meeting of Shangfu, which falls under the scope of American sanctions, with the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, would be “awkward”.

Li Shangfu was born in 1958. In 1978 he joined the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and in 1982 joined the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. In 2003 Shangfu led the center and in 2006 he was promoted to major general. As director of the Xichang center, he was responsible for several rocket launches, including the launch of Chang’e-2 in October 2010.

In 2014, Shangfu became deputy director of the PLA Armament General Directorate, and in 2016 he took over as deputy commander of the newly established PLA Strategic Support Force, which is responsible for cyberspace, outer space and other high-tech warfare. In 2017, the general headed the equipment development department of the Central Military Commission, which oversees Chinese defense technology.

In 2018 Li Shangfu to hit under US sanctions for, according to Washington, facilitating the transfer of Russian Su-35 military aircraft and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to China. Sanctions against the general included a ban on foreign exchange trading under US jurisdiction, a ban on transactions in the US financial system, a freeze on all property in the United States, and a visa ban.

A day earlier, Li Qiang, a longtime ally of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, was named the new premier of the PRC’s State Council.

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