China Voice: Strong army, reform usher in new era for PLA

Zhang Tao

BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The People's Liberation Army (PLA) marked its 89th anniversary Monday, Army Day, with a call to action: A strong China needs a strong armed forces.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping has said a strong armed forces can only be achieved through military reform.

Xi, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), called the reform drive "a comprehensive and revolutionary change," and said obstacles and policy issues that may hold back reform measures must be addressed to build a strong armed forces commensurate with China's international status.

The latest reform drive marks a historic shift in the organization and structure of the PLA. It is expected that the PLA's command system and structure will be more efficient, powers and responsibilities will be better managed, and its troops better arranged.

The fundamental criterion should be the test of war, especially modern combat. The military's role is to protect the country and it should be capable of winning battles, should the situation arise.

China has been pushing to reform various fields and its measures in the military have been some of the most successful.

After the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in2013, the CMC drafted a reform plan, and subsequently the general command of the PLA Army, the PLA Rocket Force, and the PLA Strategic Support Force were established. The previous seven military area commands were regrouped into five theater commands, and the four military departments -- staff, politics, logistics and armaments -- were reorganized into 15 agencies.

With these measures, the PLA has established a system whereby the CMC manages the overall administration of the armed forces, while theater commands focus on combat preparedness, and the various armed services pursue development.

The PLA is committed to being "a peacemaker," adhering to peaceful development, contributing to world peace and protecting international order, State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said Sunday.

China will pursue a defensive defense policy, safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and protect territorial integrity and maritime interests, he said.

China is "confident" and "capable of" dealing with various security threats and provocative acts, Chang noted.

A strong China needs a strong military to uphold peaceful development. While anticipating peace, China will not accept any infringements on its sovereignty, security and interests.

The latest military reform drive is another Long March for the PLA. Today, this same spirit will drive forward this next stage of military development.


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