PLA generals resolved to build strong armed forces

Zhang Tao

China's senior military officials have, during the ongoing parliamentary session, voiced their resolve to strengthen military building while safeguarding Xi Jinping's core status.

Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), was endorsed as the core of the CPC Central Committee in October last year.

Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the CMC, said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and armed police must implement Xi's decisions and instructions in pushing forward military building, reform and combat preparedness, and embrace the 19th CPC National Congress with military achievements.

"The troops must resolutely safeguard the core and follow the leadership of the CPC," Fan said Sunday while joining lawmakers from the PLA in a panel deliberation of the government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual session of the National People's Congress on Sunday.

Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the CMC, said the PLA's progress in building a world-class military is attributed to Xi's leadership.

He called for strengthening political work in the armed forces to ensure the high unity and purity of the military, adding that the armed forces must make good preparations to deal with various risks to fulfill their missions.

Both Fan and Xu urged PLA officers to eliminate the impact of Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, two corrupt former CMC vice chairmen.

Reviewing the government work report on Monday, other CMC members also vowed to unite closely around the CPC Central Committee with Xi as the core.

Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said efforts will be made to enhance the education of national defense and encourage integrated military-civilian development.

Xi now heads a central commission for integrated military and civilian development.

Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department under the CMC, said the "CMC chairman responsibility system" must be ensured.

Zhang Yang, head of the CMC Political Work Department, said the armed forces must promote "confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics," which was raised by Xi last year.

Zhao Keshi, head of the CMC Logistical Support Department, said military funds and expenditure will be closely watched and discipline strengthened.

Zhang Youxia, head of the CMC Equipment Development Department, said the department will step up innovation ranging from science and technology to management and talent cultivation, as Xi has ordered.

CMC member Wu Shengli called for safeguarding the core, strengthening political work, and focusing on winning the battle by intensifying military training and combat preparedness.

Ma Xiaotian, commander-in-chief of the PLA Air Force, stressed integrating aviation and space power as well as strike and defense capabilities, a target Xi has set for the air force.

Wei Fenghe, commander-in-chief of the PLA Rocket Force, said Xi's instructions are important guidelines for building a world-class strategic force to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

The senior officials' remarks came as China's 2017 defense spending is budgeted to grow 7 percent to reach 1.04 trillion yuan (about 152 billion U.S. dollars).

"The majority of the defense budget will be spent on deepening national defense and military reforms, bolstering military and civilian integration, and improving the living, training and working conditions for service personnel at grassroots levels," an official with Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

China will strengthen its maritime and air defense as well as border controls amid efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and security, according to the government work report.

The country will continue to deepen military reforms, while upholding the CPC's absolute leadership over the armed forces. It will ensure the organization of important operations related to countering terrorism, safeguarding stability, international peacekeeping, and providing escort in high seas, according to the report.

"China will enhance its capacity of innovation in defense-related science and technology and step up development of advanced logistics and equipment," it said, adding that military-civilian integration will be intensified.


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