New PLA army, air force com­man­ders ap­pointed

Global Times - Weekend - - NATION - By Guo Yuan­dan and Zhang Hui

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) has ap­pointed two new com­man­ders for its army and air force.

Han Weiguo, who was pro­moted in July to the rank of gen­eral, the high­est rank for of­fi­cers in ac­tive ser­vice in China, was ap­pointed Com­man­der of the PLA Army.

Bei­jing Daily re­ported that Han spoke at the clos­ing cer­e­mony of a Bei­jing gar­ri­son con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

Han was the Com­man­der of the PLA’s Cen­tral The­ater Com­mand. He was the first gen­eral to serve as com­man­der of both a the­ater com­mand and mil­i­tary ser­vice branch since the mil­i­tary over­haul was launched at the end of 2015.

Han was the com­man­der of the mil­i­tary pa­rade held in the In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion on July 30 to mark the PLA’s 90th an­niver­sary.

A mil­i­tary ex­pert who re­quested anonymity told the Global Times that Han, as the for­mer com­man­der of a the­ater com­mand tasked with win­ning wars, knows best about what type of ground force China needs for mod­ern war­fare.

Han’s ap­point­ment could ben­e­fit the Chi­nese Army’s trans­for­ma­tion from tra­di­tional troops to mod­ern troops. The PLA Army will move faster and stead­ier with the new com­man­der, the ex­pert said.

Han suc­ceeds Li Zuocheng, who was pro­moted to chief of the Joint Staff De­part­ment of the PLA on Au­gust 27.

Mean­time, Ding Lai­hang was ap­pointed PLA Air Force Com­man­der, re­plac­ing Ma Xiao­tian.

Ding in­spected 2,000 fly­ing cadets at the PLA Air Force Avi­a­tion Uni­ver­sity in Changchun, North­east China’s Jilin Prov­ince Fri­day, the air force an­nounced on its Weibo ac­count.

Ding, 60, has pre­vi­ously served as the Com­man­der of the Air Force of the PLA’s North The­ater Com­mand.

“The reshuf­fle of senior mil­i­tary of­fi­cers al­lows more pro­fes­sional and younger of­fi­cers to man­age the ser­vices, which helps the ser­vices en­gage in com­bat,” Song Zhong­ping, a Bei­jing-based mil­i­tary ex­pert, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

The PLA Navy ap­pointed Shen Jin­long as its new com­man­der in Jan­uary, re­plac­ing Wu Shengli.

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