PLA General Li Shangfu Under U.S. Sanction Appointed as Defense Minister of PRC

On March 12, the PLA general Li Shangfu, who was under U.S. sanction, was appointed as the defense minister of the PRC in the first session of the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

In October 2022, the first plenary session of the 20th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party produced members of the new Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party(CMCCCP), Xi Jinping as the chairman, Zhang Youxia and He Weidong as vice-chairmen, and Li Shangfu, Liu Zhenli, Miao Hua, and Zhang Shengmin as the committee members.

The members of CMCCCP remain unchanged this year. Li Shangfu’s appointment as the defense minister adds another obstacle to the US-China military dialogue, which has aroused concerns from the free world. Li Shangfu was sanctioned by the United States in 2018 for importing weapons from Russia, becoming the first PLA general to be sanctioned.

In 2017, Li Shangfu, then director of the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission(EDDCMC), purchased Sukhoi-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia.

Subsequently, the United States announced sanctions in accordance with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), prohibiting the EDDCMC and Li Shangfu from applying for export licenses and entering the U.S. financial system.

They have also been added to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Special Designations List, which prohibits U.S. citizens from doing business with sanctioned individuals. Analysts believe that the appointment of Li Shangfu is Xi Jinping showing a middle finger to the United States, which will further aggravate the differences in the US-China military dialogue.

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Translator: NFSC News
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