13:41 GMT +3 hours26 May 2016
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Chinese soldiers conduct a practice at dawn ahead of a military parade later in the morning at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II

'Chinese Dream': Beijing Unveils Major Military Restructure

© AFP 2016/ GREG BAKER
Asia & Pacific
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China unveiled three new units to its military: a force to oversee strategic missiles, an army general command and strategic support force, Chinese state media reported.

President Xi Jinping described the modernization reform as "a major policy decision to realize the Chinese dream of a strong army."

The new units, along with the building of a second aircraft carrier, come at a time when Beijing is being more assertive in territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea, escalating tensions with its neighbors and with the United States.

The reforms include a new People's Liberation Army (PLA) unit established to oversee China's arsenal of strategic missiles.

In addition to the so-called "Rocket Force," the PLA also unveiled an army general command to serve as the headquarters for land forces and a support unit to assist combat troops, the official Xinhua news agency said.

In an effort to create a more efficient fighting force, President Xi announced in September plans to cut the number of Chinese troops by about 300,000 to approximately 2 million soldiers.

Beijing is also expanding its naval capacity, building a second aircraft carrier to join the one that was commissioned in 2012.

The modernization comes as China flexes its military muscles with Japan in the East China Sea and with its Southeast Asian neighbors in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, through which some $5 trillion in trade passes annually. But the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claim.

The Global Times newspaper said new conditions required a strong army and cited the United States as a reason.

"If China has a big gap with the US in terms of military prowess, this will affect its international position and other countries' attitude toward China," it said in an editorial posted on its website Saturday.

"With a strong army, China can be more politically appealing, influential and persuasive."

Tags:
military modernization, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), Xi Jinping, Japan, South China Sea, East China Sea, United States, China
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  • Jg38691
    They all look the same...China is no match for US and her allies. Weapons quality may be good for dollar store but not for war.
  • tblizzin reply toJg38691(Show commentHide comment)
    Jg38691, Then why does the U.S. military buy Chinese products? And to what advantage?
  • jaodernein
    Another big headache for the high brasses of the Pentagon !
  • ivanwa88
    38691 How come you always comment on any article that shows advances in military capability of non western alliance nations as always vastly inferior to all allies? China as stated in the article has modernised and developed its military to be able to match other major nations to exert influence in world affairs. It never states they can or are superior to all allied forces!!? the question is why do you never compare eastern alliance with western forces ie Russia, China, India, plus add Brazil South Africa Iran North Korea. Are you on record to say they are no match! plus also getting back to your comment is China no match for Saudi or Turkey? how do they compare there any comment. Your sleight of hand always seems to have a good measure of propaganda to it. I must admit im quite in a way suspicious of these forms of comments coming from a serial number. In future to err on the side of credibility can we compare apples with apples if indeed a comparison is called for.
  • cmat.wolfgang
    "China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, through which some $5 trillion in trade passes annually. But the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claim."

    Without doubt, there are historical claims that China can refer to.
    But it looks to me that the major reason why China claims those Areas
    is that it only wants to prevent paying toll for passing ship traffic.

    And countries like Vietnam and the Phillipines obviously would like to cash into fees for trespassing. There are international rules for claiming territory which are however
    mainly enforced by the power of the country.

    Naturally the Phillipines cannot claim much in history since they did not even exist as a independent country for many centuries. They were colony of Spain and later of the USA and had in no way any rights to those Islands.
  • cmat.wolfgangin reply tocmat.wolfgang(Show commentHide comment)
    cmat.wolfgang,
    what I wanted to say: There could probably be an easy and peaceful solution to that problem when all countries who now have claims would agree to an international contract which would secure the free passage of all ships including Military owned.
  • cmat.wolfgangin reply toJg38691(Show commentHide comment)
    Jg38691,
    all the computers I bought for the last 20 years had no part manufactured in the US. That was so with DELL and even IBM. An IBM Aptiva I bought in 1995 (?) was completely put together wwith Asian parts except for the Intel processor which came from Israel. But it had the IBM Logo on it which was probably printed in the USA:-)

    Actually the worlds fastest and most powerful computer is again China made:-)
  • in reply toJg38691(Show commentHide comment)
    Jg38691,
    I recall the same BS you guys were paddling 10 years ago when laughing at China about their 'dollar store' economy, and now it is Number One economy in the world, way more powerful than US debt based fake economy based on selling each other hot air and creating each other daily reports.
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