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China Appoints Foreign and Defense Ministers

China's newly-elected Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (front row, C) sits together with other delegates as he attends the sixth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2013.
China's parliament on Saturday approved appointments to two key posts.

Wang Yi, China's former ambassador to Japan, is the new foreign minister.

The appointment of Wang, who speaks Japanese, comes at a crucial time in the relationship between China and Japan, as the two countries negotiate over ownership of a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.

Chang Wanquan, who has been involved with China's space program, was approved as the new defense minister.