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China's military leadership reshuffled


20:38, October 30, 2012

China has announced sweeping changes to its top military command.

The high-level appointments come just two weeks ahead of the 18th Communist Party Congress.

They include the appointment of a new army chief of staff and a new air force chief.

In a sweeping shuffle of the military’s top brass, the National Defense Ministry announced that Admiral Fang Fenghui will take over as chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army.

He’ll be responsible for recruitment and training and other important functions.

The other key appointments are Zhang Yang who becomes director of the general political department.

Zhao Keshi was named head of logistics and Zhang Youxia is now the head of the general armament department.

The Ministry earlier announced that former fighter pilot Ma Xiaotian will lead China’s Air Force.

Ma’s appointment means that he is almost certain to be appointed to one of the 12 seats on the influential Central Military Commission which commands China’s armed forces.

At 2.3 million members, the Chinese standing army is the world’s largest.

The latest appointments come at a time when the country is rapidly modernizing its armed forces, especially its air force and navy, at a time when China has expressed its determination to defend its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas.

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