China replaced two leaders of an elite unit managing its nuclear arsenal, triggering speculation of a purge.
General Li Yuchao who headed the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Rocket Force unit and his deputy had “disappeared” for months.
Former deputy navy chief Wang Houbin and party central committee member Xu Xisheng were named as replacements.
This is the biggest unplanned shake-up in Beijing’s military leadership in almost a decade.
“The latest purge is significant… [as] China is undertaking one of the most profound changes in nuclear strategy in decades,” said Lyle Morris, a foreign policy and national security fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
“[President] Xi [Jinping] has consolidated control of the PLA in unprecedented ways, but that doesn’t mean it’s complete. Xi is still worried about corruption in the ranks and has signalled that absolute loyalty to the [party] has not yet been achieved,” he said.
Mr Xi is also chairman of China’s top military command, the Central Military Commission.
At a meeting late last month, Mr Xi stressed the need to focus efforts on “addressing prominent issues faced by party organisations at all levels, in aspects such as maintaining the party’s absolute leadership over the military”, Chinese state media reported.
Source : BBC