China’s military leadership has witnessed a significant shake-up as two of its top generals overseeing nuclear missiles have been replaced. This change highlights President Xi Jinping’s commitment to tightening control over the armed forces. The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), established in 2016, is a crucial military division responsible for China’s land-based conventional and nuclear ballistic missiles.
In a surprising move, two individuals from outside the ranks of PLARF were appointed to head the unit. Wang Houbin, from the navy, became the new commander, and Xu Xisheng, from the air force, assumed the role of political commissar. This marks the first time that generals without a background in the rocket force have been assigned to these key positions.
President Xi has been emphasizing the importance of the Communist Party’s control over the military. He aims to maintain “the party’s absolute leadership over the military and ensure stronger combat readiness.” The anti-corruption campaign initiated by Xi has also extended to the military, resulting in the investigation and removal of high- and low-ranking cadres involved in corruption.
The recent military purges in China are viewed in the context of a broader effort to tighten the party’s control over all aspects of society. While the specific reasons for the removal of the former PLARF officials remain undisclosed, some speculate that the move may be related to issues of loyalty and a need for more flexible decision-making structures in the military.
Overall, these changes in China’s military leadership demonstrate President Xi’s commitment to centralizing authority and ensuring strict adherence to the party’s objectives. The impact of these moves on China’s military strategy and operations remains to be seen, but they undoubtedly underscore Xi’s drive to consolidate control over the country’s armed forces.