President Xi Jinping announced a major overhaul of China’s military to make the world’s largest army more combat ready and better equipped to project force beyond the country’s borders.
Under the reorganization, all branches of the armed forces would come under a joint military command, Xi told a meeting of military officials in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Bloomberg in September reported details of the plan, which may also seek to consolidate the country’s seven military regions to as few as four.
The Chinese president said the reform aimed to “build an elite combat force” and called on the officials to make “breakthroughs” on establishing the joint command by 2020, Xinhua said. Xi announced the changes at the end of a three-day meeting attended by about 200 top military officials, Xinhua said.
Xi, who also became chairman of the Central Military Commission upon taking power in 2012, is directly managing the overhaul. He made a public display of his commitment to the reforms when he announced that the People’s Liberation Army would shed 300,000 troops at a September military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II.