Xi reshuffles military headquarters

Xi reshuffles military headquarters
Chinese President Xi Jinping.
PHOTO: Reuters

China has reshuffled its top armed forces agency, the Central Military Commission, as President Xi Jinping accelerates the massive, multilevel reform of the People's Liberation Army.

The previous four military headquarters - staff, politics, logistics and armaments - were dismantled and their functions and duties are now shared by 15 new agencies under the Central Military Commission.

When meeting leaders of these new agencies on Monday morning, Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the rearrangement of the commission itself has basically concluded, describing the move as "a breakthrough" and "a crucial step" toward a stronger military.

Military leaders need to sharpen their political alertness and become better at discerning right and wrong in political matters, Xi added.

Xi urged military leaders to "frequently, actively and resolutely" align their direction with the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the CMC.

Xi asked military leaders to always firmly support their authority and staunchly follow their command.

He urged the new organs to focus on improving the PLA's combat capability and readiness so it can win modern warfare.

CMC organs must measure their work by the only fundamental standard of whether troops' fighting abilities can be improved, said Xi.

Commanders have been asked to spend more time studying and researching important military issues.

The president said PLA leaders should solicit and take into consideration opinions from lower-level units and service members when they make decisions. He also ordered the military to reduce the number of meetings, events and paperwork, as well as awards.

Colonel Wu Qian, a Defence Ministry spokesman, said at a news conference on Monday night that the reshuffle of the Central Military Commission will help it to improve management of the PLA, enable its organs to better carry out responsibilities, and facilitate with scrutiny and supervision how authorities execute powers.

Wu said the establishment of a training management department will enable the PLA to better organise and coordinate its drills. He noted that the newly formed discipline watchdog will dispatch inspectors to all agencies under the Central Military Commission and all regional military commands.

The reshuffle announced on Monday is the latest step Xi has taken to overhaul the Chinese military, which the president began in September when he announced that China would cut the number of troops by 300,000.

Less than two weeks ago, Xi announced the establishment of the PLA Army Headquarters, the PLA Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force.

In late November, a plenary session of the Central Military Commission presided over by Xi released an overall plan of this round of military reforms that many experts have described as unprecedented since 1985, when the late leader Deng Xiaoping cut PLA troops by about one million.

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