PLA revamps command system

Updated: 2016-02-02 03:19

By ZHAO LEI and ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)

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Move marks the latest step in massive overhaul aimed at enhancing joint operational capability

PLA revamps command system

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L, front), also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, confers a military flag to Commander Liu Yuejun and Political Commissar Zheng Weiping of the Eastern Theater Command in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 1, 2016. Xi on Monday conferred military flags on the five newly-established theater commands of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). [Photo/Xinhua]

The People's Liberation Army overhauled its regional command system on Monday in an attempt to improve the military's joint operational capability.

President Xi Jinping, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, presented PLA flags to top officers from the five newly established areas of command at a ceremony at the commission's headquarters in Beijing.

The new areas are Eastern Theater Command, Southern Theater Command, Western Theater Command, Northern Theater Command and Central Theater Command.

They replace the seven regional commands named after the cities where their headquarters were located — Beijing, Shenyang, Ji'nan, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu and Guangzhou.

Xi said the five theater commands are responsible for dealing with security threats in their respective strategic fields, maintaining peace, containing wars and winning wars, noting their pivotal role in safeguarding the country's overall national security and military strategies.

Yang Yujun, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said at a news conference on Monday evening that rearranging the regional military commands will not change the PLA's defensive nature. He added that the military will take good care of officers affected by the overhaul.

The move is the latest step taken by Xi in a massive overhaul of the defense system and the PLA. This began in September when the president announced that China would cut the number of troops by 300,000.

In late November, a plenary session of the Central Military Commission announced a plan to reorganize itself and the regional military commands.

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