PLA shifts emphasis

President Xi Jinping of China announced on Thursday that he would reduce the country’s military personnel by 300,000, using a parade marking 70 years since the end of World War II to present the People’s Liberation Army as a force for peace and regional stability. The Chinese military has more than two million members, and Mr. Xi has embarked on an accelerated modernization of the armed forces, which would shift spending from the traditional land forces to more advanced sea and air forces, which require fewer but better trained personnel. Speaking on a platform overlooking Tiananmen Square, he described the cut as a gesture of peace — at a time when China’s neighbours have grown increasingly worried about its territorial claims and military strength. “I announce that China will reduce military personnel numbers by 300,000,” he said, after declaring that the military was “loyally committed to its sacred duty of defending the security of the motherland and the peaceful life of the people, and loyally committed to the sacred duty of safeguarding world peace.” The cut would shrink military forces to two million personnel, the China News Service, a state-run agency, said”.

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