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China Appoints Admiral As New Defense Minister

China has appointed Admiral Dong Jun, the former head of the PLA Navy, as the new Minister of Defense after a rather long hiatus following the dismissal of former Defense Minister Li Shangfu, allegedly for involvement in bribery and other misconduct which also took down two military commanders of the Chinese Rocket Forces. Admiral Dong has extensive experience in the South China Sea which has been a bone of contention with the U.S. which conducts unremitting “freedom of navigation” operations in this area with major disputes over the maritime borders. As naval chief of staff, Dong also led the Chinese forces in maneuvers with the Russian navy in 2016. The appointment of Admiral Dong opens the possibility of a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, which has long been the desire of the U.S. side.