PLA must im­prove its com­bat abil­ity

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

Ninety years ago, on Au­gust 1, just af­ter bloody bat­tles dur­ing the North­ern Ex­pe­di­tion (1926-28), the Com­mu­nist Party of China ini­ti­ated the Nan­chang Up­ris­ing in 1927 to counter the anti-com­mu­nist purges by the Kuom­intang. That was the be­gin­ning of the CPC’s ef­forts to build an army aimed at serv­ing the peo­ple, and es­tab­lish a gov­ern­ment of the peo­ple and for the peo­ple.

The CPC then es­tab­lished a rev­o­lu­tion­ary base in the bor­der re­gion of Hu­nan, Hubei and Jiangxi prov­inces. Af­ter that, led by the Party, the army ini­ti­ated the land rev­o­lu­tion and em­barked on the Long March (1934-35), whose long­est route was about 12,000 kilo­me­ters from Jiangxi to Shaanxi.

The Ja­panese in­va­sion of China, which be­gan in 1931, even­tu­ally led to the es­tab­lish­ment of the Se­cond United Front be­tween the Kuom­intang and the CPC in 1937, with the Eighth Route Army and New Fourth Army emerg­ing vic­to­ri­ous in many bat­tles in north­ern and south­ern China. The CPC-led armies were not only sup­ple­men­tary forces on the bat­tle front­lines in the early phase of the war against the Ja­panese in­vaders, they also played the big­ger role in guard­ing the na­tion against the in­vaders in the later stage of the war.

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, a term first used in 1945 and for­mally adopted by the Party in 1948, de­vel­oped rapidly and fought bravely to lib­er­ate the peo­ple from the cor­rupt Kuom­intang gov­ern­ment in the years fol­low­ing Ja­pan’s sur­ren­der in World War II in 1945, paving the way for the es­tab­lish­ment of New China in 1949.

Since the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in 1949, the PLA has been the main­stay of na­tional de­fense and the pil­lar of na­tional de­vel­op­ment and se­cu­rity. The PLA has al­ways put the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­est of the na­tion and peo­ple first, ex­hib­ited a strong fight­ing spirit and made great sac­ri­fices to de­fend the na­tion’s sovereignty and in­tegrity.

In the Korean War (1950-53), the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Vol­un­teers Army, a spe­cial wing of the PLA, bravely fought against troops armed with more so­phis­ti­cated weapons and equip­ment, and con­sol­i­dated China’s s re­gional strate­gic po­si­tion.

In the Sino-In­dian bor­der war in 1962, the PLA de­fended the na­tion’s sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity, and since then has main­tained sta­bil­ity in bor­der re­gions.

Decades of de­fend­ing the coun­try has taught the PLA to keep mod­ern­iz­ing it­self and im­prov­ing its abil­ity to deal with any even­tu­al­ity to main­tain a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment. As a re­sult, the PLA has trans­formed into a mod­ern mil­i­tary ca­pa­ble of both at­tack and de­fense. In the ever-chang­ing strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment, the PLA has main­tained its com­po­sure, char­ac­ter­is­tics, peo­ple-ori­ented work and has ac­cepted the Party’s ab­so­lute lead­er­ship and served the peo­ple whole­heart­edly.

The PLA shoul­ders the re­spon­si­bil­ity of safe­guard­ing the na­tion, and deal­ing with in­creas­ingly se­vere chal­lenges, ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes and mar­itime in­ter­ests. It has also ac­tively par­tic­i­pated in res­cue and re­lief op­er­a­tions dur­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, coun­tered ter­ror­ism, and main­tained cy­ber and space se­cu­rity.

Be­sides, the PLA car­ries the hopes of the peo­ple and will con­tinue to im­prove its ca­pa­bil­ity to counter se­cu­rity threats based on the prin­ci­ple of build­ing unity be­tween the mil­i­tary and civil­ians.

The PLA should now en­deavor to be­come a higher-cal­iber mil­i­tary, con­duct train­ing un­der com­puter-sim­u­lated con­di­tions, and en­hance its in­te­grated com­bat ca­pa­bil­ity based on ex­ten­sive ap­pli­ca­tion of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. To meet new chal­lenges that have emerged due to var­i­ous na­tional strate­gic fac­tors and main­tain do­mes­tic sta­bil­ity, the PLA needs new con­tri­bu­tions, which will also help it to safe­guard re­gional se­cu­rity and world peace, com­bat ter­ror­ism, and deal with nat­u­ral and other dis­as­ters.

In the 21st cen­tury, the PLA has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in many United Na­tions peace­keep­ing mis­sions in some of the most dan­ger­ous coun­tries and re­gions of the world. China to­day ac­counts for the high­est num­ber of peace­keep­ers among the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. PLA sol­diers pro­tect lo­cal res­i­dents’ life and prop­erty in these coun­tries and re­gions, tire­lessly build roads and bridges, and pro­vide hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and med­i­cal treat­ment for the lo­cal res­i­dents.

The PLA Navy has co­op­er­ated with other coun­tries’ navies, sent its fleets to es­cort ships in the Gulf of Aden, thwarted piracy and guarded in­ter­na­tional nav­i­ga­tion routes. The China In­ter­na­tional Search and Res­cue Team has self­lessly pro­vided aid for peo­ple and coun­tries struck by nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, and won their trust and friend­ships. In some ar­eas of con­flicts, the PLA has co­op­er­ated with the troops of other coun­tries, res­cued mi­grants and ac­com­plished hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sions, and en­sured the safety and se­cu­rity of civil­ians, win­ning great honor for China.

With the global strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment chang­ing and China’s com­pre­hen­sive power grow­ing, the PLA is pre­pared to cope with the new chal­lenges of se­cu­rity. Un­der the able lead­er­ship and guid­ance of Xi Jin­ping, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, the re­form of na­tional de­fense and the mod­ern­iza­tion of the mil­i­tary have deep­ened. And thanks to such ef­forts, the PLA has trans­formed from a quan­tity-ori­ented to a qual­ity-con­scious force.

The re­form of na­tional de­fense has also helped the PLA carry out ma­jor changes in var­i­ous fields to make the man­age­ment of troops more sci­en­tific and rea­son­able, the se­cu­rity sys­tem and poli­cies more ef­fec­tive, mil­i­tary and civil­ian in­te­gra­tion smoother, na­tional de­fense re­sources more in­te­grated, and the na­tional de­fense mo­bi­liza­tion sys­tem more com­pre­hen­sive. Mil­i­tary col­leges and mil­i­tary sci­en­tific re­search in­sti­tu­tions now have to work with each other to meet the needs of na­tional de­fense con­struc­tion and help pre­pare the PLA for mod­ern com­bat.

The PLA will stay true to its mis­sion and keep im­prov­ing its abil­ity to deal with even­tu­al­i­ties through in­no­va­tion and prac­tice. And as a force built by the peo­ple, for the peo­ple, the PLA will more stead­fastly safe­guard na­tional se­cu­rity and in­ter­ests.

Decades of de­fend­ing the coun­try has taught the PLA to keep mod­ern­iz­ing it­self and im­prov­ing its abil­ity to deal with any even­tu­al­ity to main­tain a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment.

The au­thor is a pro­fes­sor at the Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity of the PLA.

LUO JIE / CHINA DAILY

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