China has revealed two new leaders for its People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force this week in a surprise shake-up that has raised questions about the inner workings at the top of the military branch overseeing the nation’s powerful arsenal of nuclear and ballistic missiles.

According to a report by the news agency Xinhua, Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday presided over a ceremony promoting Wang Houbin, commander of the Rocket Force, and Xu Xisheng, the political commissar of the force, to the rank of general.

The announcement was the first time either of the two – who had both been in military positions outside the Rocket Force – were named as the force’s leadership. 

The Rocket Force reshuffle follows several weeks of rumours that a leadership change was afoot as Li had not been in public view, now further fueled by a lack of confirmation about his current position within China’s opaque political system.

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