Smaller army can pack more punch, says Xi
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