Xi wants innovation, reform in defence, military upgrade

Beijing—Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Sunday highlighted theoretical and technological innovation as the key to upgrade the country’s military and national defence.
Speaking to national lawmakers from the military at the ongoing annual parliamentary session, Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the future of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) hinged on innovation and reform.
He urged the armed forces to fully implement the innovation-driven development strategy, place combat capacity at the center of all their work, and step up theoretical and technological innovation.
Military administration and personnel competence were also identified as areas to be improved. The PLA should focus on priority areas in order to kickstart across-the-board innovation and make the military stronger, Xi said.
He told PLA lawmakers that the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) is crucial to China’s national defense and military development, and urged the armed forces to uphold political integrity, reform and rule of law, and strengthen their military buildup and combat readiness.
Xi’s remarks came in the wake of a major military overhaul that saw the inauguration of a General Command for the Army, the PLA Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force in December, and the regrouping of seven military area commands into five PLA theater commands in February.
Earlier this month, China announced its lowest defense budget increase in six years in the wake of rising economic headwinds. According to a budget report given to the national legislature annual session.—Xinhua

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