Xi calls for downsizing PLA, making it more combat capable
President Xi Jinping on Saturday called for further downsizing 2.3 million-strong Chinese military and improving its combat capabilities, after his last year’s move to cut 300,000 troops from the world’s largest military.
Speaking at a two-day conference on military reform, Xi, also chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) which is the overall high command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said China’s military needs to put more focus on technology rather than force of numbers.
“This is a major, inevitable change. We must seize the opportunity and make breakthrough,” he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
The Chinese President stressed on further military reform by downsizing the army while improving its combat capabilities and optimising the structure, Xinhua said.
Last year in September, Xi had announced that Chinese military will see a 300,000 troop reduction, which is expected to take place from next year, the fourth military downsizing by the communist giant since 1980s.
The troop reduction is regarded as part of efforts by the PLA to streamline its force as it launched unprecedented modernisation with new weapons and technology.
Xi’s comments were reported to have caused murmurs of dissent over his military reforms.
He has already reconstituted its administrative and command structure after carrying out an anti-corruption drive in which several retired and servicing top military officials were indicted.
He has also been calling on armed forces to adhere to the leadership of ruling Communist Party of China’s (CPC) absolute leadership.