War in Korea steeled PLA

Updated: 2013-07-27 08:28

By Xu Yan (China Daily)

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During the war, the Chinese army witnessed earth-shaking changes in its military equipment with the introduction of advanced guns, artillery, tanks and jet fighters from the Soviet Union, and it quickly became battle effective. The army also made the necessary transition to joint operations by multiple units of the different services.

But building a powerful army requires not just weaponry, it also requires innovation in military thought.

After entering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Chinese People's Volunteers launched attacks and quickly drove the US-led troops from the Chinese border back to the south of the 38th Parallel. And then the volunteers successfully stood their ground along the 38th Parallel and forced the US to propose ceasefire talks.

After successive campaigns, in June 1951, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China established a new guideline for fully preparing for a protracted war while striving for peace talks to end the war. This marked the transformation to only engaging in a limited war.

The war helped establish the idea of a regional war and using fighting to promote peace talks. It was a "limited war", and this was to become the model for international military struggles, as nuclear weapons meant mutual destruction if they were used.

The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea also showed that China would adhere to the principle of active defense that late Chairman Mao Zedong always advocated.

For more than a century, China had been repeatedly defeated and humiliated by imperial powers. The dream of building a strong army and a strong country had been deeply rooted in Chinese people's mind. The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea demonstrated that the Chinese people, comprising one quarter of the world's population at that time, were then able to stand up for themselves.

The war also forced the PLA to pay more attention to logistical work and get rid of its guerrilla mindset in the process of realizing military modernization. So it can be said that 60 years ago the Chinese army first began its modernization, which is still ongoing today.

The author is a professor with the PLA National Defense University.

(China Daily 07/27/2013 page5)

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