China has made such a change in the People’s Liberation Army, which has surprised the whole world. Defence experts from all over the world are expressing surprise at this move of China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has removed two top leaders of the Special Unit with nuclear weapons and appointed new ones.
Due to this, questions are being raised on the internal working of the Rocket Force. Jinping has handed over the responsibility of his nuclear weapons to Wang Huibin. He has been the deputy commander of the Chinese Navy as of 2020. Now he has been given the responsibility of the Rocket Force of the Chinese Army.
General Li Yuchao, who headed the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) rocket force unit, and his deputy had “disappeared” for months. Former Vice Admiral Wang Houbin and Party Central Committee member Xu Zisheng were named as replacements. It is the biggest unplanned blow to Beijing’s military leadership in nearly a decade.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency report, Wang Hubin was previously the deputy commander of the navy, now the commander of the rocket force with the rank of general. The report states that Xu Zisheng is now the Political Commissar of the Rocket Force. He had previously served in the Southern Theater Command of the Air Force. MIT expert M Taylor Fravell said this is the first time in 40 years that the top role has been given to someone from outside the rocket unit. The appointment of an outsider often occurs when there are serious concerns about the management of the department.
Until recently, Li Yuchao was the commander of the Rocket Force. He is now reportedly under investigation for disciplinary breaches along with two of his deputies. The 60-year-old had only been on the job for 16 months. If confirmed, the probe would deal a blow to Xi’s signature campaign to clean up the PLA, an effort that has lasted almost his entire tenure. The sudden change came as Xi was faced with other senior personnel issues. Last week, his chosen foreign minister, Qin Gang, was removed from that position. The rocket unit played a key role in Beijing’s live-fire military drills around Taiwan last August when then-US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-ruled island.