China’s former missile commander Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe has been appointed as country’s new Defense Minister, amid concerns over the goals of rapid military modernization.
Wei named as the international face of China’s military, was among a series of appointments by the ceremonial legislature on the penultimate day of its annual session on Monday, AP reports.
As defense minister, Wei is outranked by President Xi Jinping, 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.
Wei was named head of the 2nd Artillery in 2012, then remained head of the missile command after it was renamed the Rocket Force in 2016 amid a reorganization of military units.
The head of the U.S. Strategic Command considers China’s ballistic missile program the world’s "most active and diverse.” It includes a range of short- and intermediate-range missile aimed at Taiwan, as well as road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles targeting the U.S. and its allies.