China yesterday elevated the status of its current foreign minister and selected a new defense minister as the country deals with rocky relations with the US and expands its military.
The National People’s Congress endorsed the appointment of Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) as state councilor, making him a ranking member of the country’s “Cabinet.”
He replaces Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪), China’s former top diplomat, who was tipped for a leading role in managing Beijing’s increasingly uncertain relations with the US under President Donald Trump.
While Yang was known for his good relationships with former US officials, it is unclear what advantages Wang, who was once ambassador to Japan, would have for handling the sensitive relationship at a time of growing trade tensions.
China’s chief diplomat also faces ongoing regional maritime disputes in the South China Sea, with Beijing facing criticism over its construction of artificial islands capable of hosting military equipment.
Yesterday’s government reshuffle included the naming of Lieutenant General Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和), a former missile force commander, as minister of national defense.
Zhao Kezhi (趙克志) was confirmed as minister of public security in charge of the police, while Chen Wenqing (陳文清), a former top official in the Chinese Communist Party’s graft-busting agency, remains minister of state security responsible for espionage and counterintelligence.
China has increasingly been deploying its intelligence agencies overseas to track down those accused of high-level corruption, along with other perceived regime opponents and critics who have moved abroad.
As defense minister, Wei is outranked by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, and two vice chairmen, but will be the main interface between China’s 2 million-member armed forces and the rest of the world’s militaries.
China this year increased its military budget by 8.1 percent to about US$173 billion, making it again the world’s second-largest behind the US.
China’s Cabinet is headed by Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the CCP’s No. 2 leader, who on Sunday was reappointed to a second five-year term by the legislature.
The vote came a day after Xi was reappointed China’s president with no limits on how many terms he can serve.
The legislature also approved the appointment of Yang Xiaodu (楊曉渡) as director for the National Supervisory Commission, created from a merger of the party’s internal anti-graft watchdog with one that oversees civil servants. It will have the power to detain suspects for up to six months without seeking court approval.
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also