Xi says PLA overhaul to aid reform

Updated: 2015-11-27 07:51

By Zhao Lei(China Daily USA)

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Central commission, military regions to be reset; anti-graft bodies boosted

President Xi Jinping has pledged to revolutionize the People's Liberation Army by overhauling the armed forces' command structure and reorganizing military regions, according to a statement published on Thursday after a historically significant meeting.

Xi said on Tuesday morning, at the beginning of a three-day PLA reform conference in Beijing hosted by the Central Military Commission, that the commission itself, of which he is chairman, will be rearranged. He also said the current seven military regions will be reset, together with the establishment of a unified combat command for each of the new regions.

The new military regions will be responsible for performing military operations, while the new headquarters of each service will take charge of managing and training troops, he added, noting that the PLA will also set up an Army headquarters.

Currently, the Navy, Air Force and Second Artillery Corps, the country's de facto strategic missile force, all have their own headquarters, but the ground force has no such organization.

Xi reaffirmed the pledge he made on Sept 3 during the Victory Day Parade in Beijing that China will cut the number of troops by 300,000. He said office workers and other non-combat personnel will be the target of the cuts.

The proportion of each service in the military will be adjusted to optimize the operational capabilities of each, the president said.

In addition, Xi vowed to give more independence and authority to disciplinary inspectors and auditors. He said the Central Military Commission will establish an anti-graft watchdog and a law enforcement body that will be under its direct control. Its audit office is also set to be rearranged.

The PLA's top anti-graft and law enforcement agencies are now administered by the General Political Department.

The president urged the PLA to improve the management of professionals and military academies and to increase vocational benefits for service members. He disclosed that the top leadership is determined to end all commercial services provided by the PLA.

China is embracing an unprecedented opportunity to deepen its reform on national defense, and the PLA now has all necessary conditions for such reform, Xi said.

He added that he expected substantial progress and achievements to be made by 2020.