Xi Stresses Military Unity After Purging Rocket Force Chiefs

Following turmoil in the People’s Liberation Army’s top ranks, President Xi Jinping urged for stability and unity within the military while on an inspection mission.

During a visit to northeast China on Friday, the Chinese leader said, “We must strictly enforce the education and management of troops, and maintain a high degree of unity, security, and stability.”

Xi Stresses Military Unity After Purging Rocket Force Chiefs
Xi Stresses Military Unity After Purging Rocket Force Chiefs

According to the Sunday report, he also emphasized the necessity to raise the readiness for combat.

The Chinese president has frequently emphasized the necessity for stability in the country’s military, particularly during a visit to Inner Mongolia in June, but his remarks came in the wake of a number of jarring personnel changes in the PLA.

Earlier this year, Xi unexpectedly and unjustifiably fired two generals in charge of China’s covert rocket force, which is in charge of the nation’s nuclear weapons. That happened soon after the Chinese president dismissed Qin Gang as foreign minister after the latter vanished from view for a month.

Defense Minister Li Shangfu was associated with those mysterious personnel changes on Friday by US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, who claimed in a tweet on the social media site X (previously known as Twitter) that the Communist Party official hadn’t been seen in public for two weeks.

Li last appeared in front of the public on August 29, when he gave the opening address at the third China-Africa Peace and Security Forum in Beijing. Midway through his trip to Russia and Belarus, he also referred to the military ties between China and Russia as a “model for cooperation” at a security conference in Moscow.

Xi Stresses Military Unity After Purging Rocket Force Chiefs

The defense minister normally has a lower public profile than China’s foreign minister, who appears in public at least once each week.

In July, China’s military opened an investigation into fraud in the purchase of military gear dating back to October 2017, but without explaining why that particular date was crucial. Li oversaw the equipment division from September 2017 to 2022, but there is no indication that he is under investigation for any wrongdoing.

The probe is evidence that Xi’s nearly ten-year effort to purge the PLA is not yet complete.

According to Xinhua, Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China’s top military body, accompanied Xi on his inspection tour of the army unit in the northeast last week.

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