Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a smaller army with better combat capability and optimized structure as the military reform deepens.
Xi, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) 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, which ended 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 last year that the armed forces would be cut down by 300,000 troops from the original 2.3 million.
Citing rapid changes to the global military environment, Xi spoke about the informationized 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, which features smaller in size, more capable in strength, modulization and multi-functionality, with scientific factors playing bigger roles,” Xi said.
The president, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the military’s structure must be readjusted and optimized, new type of forces be developed, the ratios between different types of forces be rationalized, and the number and the scale of the military be downsized.
The Chinese army must grow into modern armed forces with Chinese characteristics, which can win informationized wars and implement their missions, the president said.
“Quantity should be reduced, 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 force to take the reform as a major political issue, strengthen rules and disciplines in the work, 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.