Xi vows military boost

Xi vows military boost
Above: Chinese President Xi Jinping

China will accelerate development of a military equipment system to build a modern army and support national security, according to President Xi Jinping.

He said these efforts should be information-led and pay great attention to the quality of weaponry.

Xi called for a strategic plan to be drawn up for development of the military equipment system, in view of the changing national security situation and "different international strategic pattern".

He made the remarks at a People's Liberation Army equipment conference, which was held in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday.

There are strategic opportunities in building the equipment system, and a key point has been reached for its rapid development, the president said.

Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said that since the late 1990s China has largely invested in the development of military equipment and has seen many achievements.

These include the Type-99A main battle tank and J-10 fighter jet, which were commissioned by the PLA. More advanced weapons and other equipment, including the J-20 stealth fighter jet, are being researched, Wang said.

Xi's attendance at the conference demonstrates the top leadership's attention to equipment development and also indicates that the PLA will invest more resources and funds on equipment research, Wang added.

"But we shouldn't take a great leap in building an equipment system," Wang said.

"A lot of research, including that on advanced aviation engines, will take a comparatively long time. We should follow the scientific rules and accomplish all experimental procedures."

In 2013, China revealed its nuclear submarine crews for the first time and gave media coverage to their training.

In November, the nation's first domestically developed strategic airliner, the Y-20 Kunpeng, took to the skies at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition.

This year, the central government announced plans to raise the defence budget by 12.2 per cent to 808.2 billion yuan (S$175 billion).

Wu Peixin, a military observer in Beijing, said, "Our ground forces have very competitive equipment compared with other countries' military forces, but our navy and air force still have a long way to go in equipment development.

"But we have to know what we need and develop ... our strategic plans. We shouldn't simply copy other countries' products, or simply follow their paths."

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