Xi begins new role running military reform
March 16, 2014 - 6:12:17 am
BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken on a new role overseeing a group in charge of deepening military reform, state media said yesterday, adding to the list of bodies Xi is taking charge of in his rapid consolidation of power.
Xi is already head of the military in his role as chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission.
The official news agency Xinhua said Xi had chaired the first meeting of the new leading group for deepening reform on national defence and the military, in the first mention of the group by state media.
Xi has already taken charge of similar bodies overseeing economic reform and internet security, besides running the new national security commission.
During the military meeting, Xi “stressed the country’s military reform should be guided by the objective of building a strong army,” Xinhua said. Xi’s speech, full of turgid communist phrases, gave no specifics of how China will modernise its military.
“National defence and military reform are an important part and an important symbol of China’s overall reform,” Xi said.
With “being able to combat and win battles” as the focus, Xi said reforms should “target key problems in strengthening combat preparedness and weak links in honing combat effectiveness.”
The goal is to build an army that “obeys the Party’s command, is capable of winning battles and has a sound work style,” he added.
China this month announced its biggest rise in military spending in three years, a strong signal that it is not about to back away from its growing assertiveness in Asia, especially in disputed waters.
The government said it would increase the defence budget by 12.2 percent this year to $131.57bn, as China seeks to develop more high-tech weapons and to beef up coastal and air defences.