China’s Defence Minister Li Shangfu, not seen in weeks, skipped Vietnam meeting

BEIJING/HANOI — Chinese protection minister Li Shangfu abruptly drew out of a meeting wearing Vietnamese protection leaders last week, three police wearing straight expertise of the matter claimed, amid vanquishment around his more than 2-weeks-long absence from public note.

Li, 65, was due to attend an each year congregating on protection engagement organized by Vietnam on its boundary wearing China on Sept 7 and also 8 but the meeting was postponed after Beijing briefed Hanoi days before the occurrence that the minister owned a “health disorder”, 2 Vietnamese police claimed.

The terse halt of the meeting and also the justifications cited by China are being reported by Reuters for the first time.

China’s Case Council Details Occupational space, too as its protection and also international ministries did not comfortably respond to a last alert for remark around the Vietnam occurrence. The Vietnamese consular office in Beijing couldn’t comfortably be received to for remark on Thursday (Sept 14) evening.

The terse voidance of Li’s ride follows China’s inexplicable substitute of Foreign Preacher Qin Gang in July after a lengthy absence from public note and also a smoothie mix-upward of the leadership of the Human beings’s Elbowroom Unforgiving’s elite Projectile Affect in present months, jobs that have raised vanquishment around the Chinese leadership’s resolution-rendering.

Qin’s meteoric ascent wearing the ranks of the Communist Party was partially tied to his closeness to President Xi Jinping, rendering his removal after merely seven months on the work even more accidental. Chinese police originally claimed Qin’s absence from public note was due to health justifications.

Li was assigned to his post in March. He is shadowed extremely closely by peacemakers and also unalike other sightseers since, pick Qin, he is also one of China’s five Case Councillors, a storage unit posture that ranks greater than a invariant minister.

A US police, on disorder of privacy, claimed Washington was cognizant of Li’s discontinued meetings wearing the Vietnamese. US President Joe Biden gone to Hanoi last week, where the 2 sides inked a historic upgrade of their engagement.


Li’s lengthy absence from public note has enticed some remark. US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel uploaded on X, previously Twitter, on Sept 8: “First, Foreign Preacher Qin Gang goes lacking out on, after that the Projectile Affect commanders go lacking out on, and also presently Protection Preacher Li Shangfu hasn’t been seen in public for 2 weeks. Who’s amassing involved in win this unemployment race? China’s young civilization or Xi’s storage unit?”

Inquired around Emanuel’s post this week, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman briefed reporters she was “not cognizant of the instance”.

Li was last seen in Beijing on Aug 29 transferring a key-note address at a coverage discussion forum wearing African countries. Before that he organized high-level meetings during a ride to Russia and also Belarus.

China’s protection minister is largely answerable for protection diplomacy and also executes not command neutralize forces. He has a a number less public profile than the international minister, who in some housings appears in clarify media.

“Li’s disappearance, obeying so shortly after Qin, talks to how inexplicable Chinese elite politics can be to the outside universes,” claimed Alfred Wu, coworker professor at the Lee Kuan Yew University of Public Law in Singapore.

“China under Xi merely executes not feel a call for to define itself to the universes.”

Li was sanctioned by the US in 2018 for shopping weapons from Russia’s best arms merchant, Rosoboronexport.

Chinese police have repeatedly claimed they want those sanctions slumped to facilitate better discussions in between the 2 sides’ militaries. US Protection Assistant Lloyd Austin attempted talks wearing Li during a protection conference in Singapore in June, but did not administer intake of beyond a handshake.

In 2016, Li was termed substitute commander of the army’s after that-favored Critical Guidance Affect — an elite physique tasked wearing speeding upward the gradual technology of void and also cyber war capacities. He after that pioneered the army’s procurement unit from 2017 until he came to be protection minister.

In a inexplicable alert in July, the unit claimed it was peeking to “pristine-upward” its bidding process process and also invited the public to report abnormalities obsoleting endorse to 2017. There has been zero update on potential findings.

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