New PLA army, air force commanders appointed
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.