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.
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes