Xi calls for further armed forces reform

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BEIJING, (Xinhua) — General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for the building of strong armed forces through military reform.

Xi presided over a group study seminar of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, which focused on national defense and military reform.

He called the reform drive “a comprehensive and revolutionary change,” and said obstacles and policy issues that may hold back reform measures must be addressed so as to build a strong armed forces commensurate with China’s international status.

Cai Hongshuo, deputy head of the advisory team of the leading group for deepened national defense and military reform under the Central Military Commission (CMC), delivered a lecture on the issue and offered some suggestions.

Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee then discussed relevant issues during the study.

Xi said under the CPC’s leadership, the armed forces have been constantly reformed and improved, adding that further military reform is needed to cope with the changing international situation and to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.

After the 18th National Congress of the CPC in late 2012, Xi said, the CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to defense and military reform. After the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, the CMC established the leading group, and later drafted a reform plan.

Based on the reform plan, the general command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Army, the PLA Rocket Force, and the PLA Strategic Support Force were established.

The previous seven military area commands were regrouped into five theater commands, and the four military departments — staff, politics, logistics and armaments — were reorganized into 15 agencies.

With those reforms, the PLA has a system in which the CMC is tasked with the overall administration of the armed forces, while theater commands focus on combat preparedness, and various armed services pursue development, Xi added.

These measures solved some deep-seated problems that many considered unsolvable, according to Xi.

The reform drive marks a historic change in the organization and structure of the PLA, he said.

By 2020, advances should be made in reforming the leadership and management system, as well as the joint battle command system, Xi said, citing the timetable outlined in the reform plan.

Significant progress should be achieved in optimizing scale and structure, improving policies and systems, and promoting the integration of military and civilian development, he said.

Xi underscored that the aim is to build a modern military with Chinese characteristics, which is able to win an informationized war and fulfill missions and tasks efficiently, while improving the socialist military institution with Chinese characteristics.

Military Party committees at various levels should fulfill their respective reform tasks to the highest standard, and military leaders, especially senior ones, should take the lead in implementing reform tasks, Xi noted.

Calling deepened national defense and military reform “a common cause for the whole Party and country,” Xi called on all levels of governments and Party committees, as well as relevant parties, to support national defense and military development, to cooperate actively to fulfill reform tasks that involve multiple regions, and to integrate the adjustment of the economic layout with the improvement of national defense layout.

Moreover, Xi ordered that any military officers demobilized during the reform should be offered help and guidance to secure new jobs.

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