CHINA - The Chinese military is to establish a joint operational command system "in due course", with observers saying this will result in more-coordinated and combat-capable forces to efficiently respond to a crisis.
Setting up the system is a basic requirement in an era of information, and the military has launched positive pilot programs in this regard, the Ministry of National Defence told China Daily on Thursday.
The remarks came shortly after a Japanese media report said China is considering reorganizing its seven military regions into five.
Each of the new military regions would create a joint operations command controlling the army, navy and air force as well as a strategic missile unit, the report said.
On Wednesday, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said the planned revamp would mark a shift from the defence-oriented military, which relies mainly on the army, to one ensuring more mobile and integrated management.
The ministry said in a reply to China Daily that the modernization of the military is not targeted at any country.
Observers said the military's structural reform, which was underscored by a landmark reform plan adopted by the Third Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee in November, is gathering pace as the country increases sophisticated technology but also faces different security challenges.
The reform plan seeks to "improve the combined combat command systems, push forward reform of training and logistics for joint combat operations".
Ouyang Wei, a professor at the National Defence University of the People's Liberation Army, said a joint operational command system highlights unified command and information sharing across at least two different military forces.
It would help the military respond quickly to a contingency, he said, adding, "The system, which has been popular in the West for decades, is not (aimed at) starting a war, but to kill it in the cradle."