China's Defense Minister Li Shangfu unexpectedly withdrew from a meeting with Vietnamese defense leaders last week, sparking concerns about his more than

two-week-long absence from the public eye, according to three officials familiar with the matter. General Li, aged 65, was scheduled to attend a defense cooperation gathering hosted by Vietnam from September 7 to 8.

However, Beijing informed Hanoi shortly before the event that the minister had a "health condition," resulting in the meeting's postponement. This abrupt cancellation follows other unexplained leadership changes and absences within the Chinese government and military hierarchy, leading to questions about the decision-making processes of China's leadership.

The US is reportedly aware of Gen Li's canceled meetings with the Vietnamese. Photo by, Wikimedia commons.