Tuesday, 5 January 2016

China restructures army aimed at efficiency

China has introduced major changes to the structure of its military as part of efforts to reinforce its armed forces and maximize their efficiency vis-à-vis potential threats.

President Xi Jinping said three new units were created “to realize the Chinese dream of a strong military, and a strategic step to establish a modern military system with Chinese characteristics.”

He said the Chinese army needs to optimize its structure and composition, expedite its transformation from a regional defense force to an international combat one.

China plans to optimize its military structure by 2020. As part of that effort, the number of its troops will be cut from 2.3 million to 2 million, outdated armaments phased out, and new defense systems developed.

On Wednesday, officials said China was building its second aircraft carrier as it expands its naval capabilities in the East and South China Seas.

“This aircraft carrier is being developed according to entirely domestic designs,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said. The vessel is under construction in the northeastern port city of Dalian.

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was commissioned in 2012 after extensive refits.

“The design and construction of the second aircraft absorbed the useful experience of research and training from the Liaoning. This led to many areas of improvements and enhancements,” Yang said.

China’s second aircraft carrier will reportedly have a displacement of 50,000 tons and use “conventional power” rather than nuclear power. It will also carry indigenous Shenyang J-15 carrier-based fighter jets and other military aircraft.

China is uneasy with the US military buildup in Asia and regular military exercises between American forces and their allies in the region. Washington is assertively siding with China's rivals in a dispute over a group of islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing is accusing Washington of meddling in regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea on which the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

On December 21, China called on the United States to respect the East Asian country’s principal “interests” and concerns, and refrain from what it terms as “shows of force” close to its islands in the South China Sea.

In a telephone conversation with his US counterpart John Kerry on Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Washington needed to stop selling munitions to Taiwan and also put an end to its military patrols near the Spratly Islands, known as the Nansha Islands in Chinese. (PressTV)

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