Chinese President Xi Jinping has reshuffled the leadership of the country’s missile forces in an apparent attempt to install trustworthy officials and disrupt corruption in the force, which would play a key role in any attempt to seize Taiwan.
The move earlier this week saw the Chinese leader effectively purge two of the most senior officials in the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Rocket Force, which oversees the country’s land-based missile and nuclear arsenals. Wang Houbin, the navy’s former deputy commander, takes over as the Rocket Force’s new commander, while Xu Xisheng, who previously served in the air force’s Southern Theater Command, becomes its new political commissar, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday.
The appointment of a new commander for the unit ended weeks of speculation over the fate of Li Yuchao, the ousted commander of the missile force. Li, his deputy, Liu Guangbin, as well as his former No. 2, Zhang Zhenzhong, have been taken away for investigation by the Central Military Commission’s anti-graft body, the South China Morning Post reported last week, citing two anonymous sources familiar with the matter.