Smaller army can pack more punch, says Xi

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By XIN­HUA

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has called for a smaller army with bet­ter com­bat ca­pa­bil­ity and op­ti­mized struc­ture as mil­i­tary re­form deep­ens.

Xi, who is also chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion and head of a lead­ing group for deep­en­ing re­form on national de­fense and the armed forces, made the re­marks at a two-day con­fer­ence on mil­i­tary re­form that ended on Satur­day.

“This is a ma­jor, in­evitable change,” Xi told the meet­ing. “We must seize the op­por­tu­nity and make break­throughs.”

The pres­i­dent said changes must be made if China is to build a strong, world-class army.

Xi an­nounced in Septem­ber of last year that the armed forces would be trimmed by 300,000 troops from 2.3 mil­lion.

Cit­ing rapid changes to the global mil­i­tary en­vi­ron­ment, Xi spoke about in­for­ma­tion ori­ented mod­ern war­fare, not­ing that joint oper­a­tions have grown to be the ba­sic form of com­bat.

“Ac­cord­ingly, there have been new changes in terms of the mil­i­tary’s size, struc­ture and for­ma­tion, fea­tur­ing smaller sizes, more ca­pa­bil­ity in strength, em­ploy­ing mod­ules and mul­ti­ple func­tion­al­ity, with sci­en­tific fac­tors play­ing big­ger roles,” Xi said.

Xi said the mil­i­tary’s struc­ture must be read­justed and op­ti­mized, with new types of forces de­vel­oped, the ra­tios be­tween dif­fer­ent types of forces bet­ter ad­justed, and the num­ber and scale of the mil­i­tary down­sized.

The Chi­nese army must grow into a mod­ern armed force with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics, which can win in­for­ma­tion-ori­ented wars and im­ple­ment its mis­sions, the pres­i­dent said.

“Quan­tity should be re­duced, and qual­ity im­proved, to build a ca­pa­ble and ef­fi­cient mod­ern­ized stand­ing army," Xi said, adding that China must de­velop a joint op­er­a­tion force sys­tem with the elite force at its core.

Xi also urged the armed forces to adopt re­form as a ma­jor political is­sue, strengthen rules and dis­ci­plines, and fur­ther purge the per­ni­cious in­flu­ence of Guo Box­iong and Xu Cai­hou, two cor­rupt for­mer CMC vice-chair­men.

A to­tal of 230 high-rank­ing mil­i­tary of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the CMC, at­tended the meet­ing.

Quan­tity should be re­duced, and qual­ity im­proved, to build a ca­pa­ble and ef­fi­cient mod­ern­ized stand­ing army.”

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping

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