PLA on course to cut 200,000 personnel
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-15 08:21:17
BEIJING,July 15 -- People's Liberation Army (PLA) is on course to cut 200,000 military personnel by the end of the year, the PLA Daily, mouthpiece of China's armed forces, reported yesterday.
The military is currently carrying out extensive restructuring reform, adding new battle units and cutting outdated ones in an effort to create combat effectiveness and intensify the force's combat command capability, the report said.
The total number of officers at headquarters and functional branches at different command levels will be cut to a new low, and some grassroots posts previously held by officers will be transferred to soldiers or civil servants.
"The readjustment and reform programme is now proceeding smoothly," Zang Guoqing, head of the army affairs department with the PLA's Headquarters of the General Staff, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
China announced in September 2003 that it would reduce its military from 2.5 million to about 2.3 million in two years.
Zang urged all military units to strictly abide by the restructuring plan as it was an important decision made by the Central Military Commission to optimize its military structure.
"Only when the new organizational system is well-implemented can we complete the task of reducing 200,000 military staff by the end of this year," Zang said.
He said that the headquarters had inspected several military commands and found some problems.
For example, in some cases the number of staff and vehicles were much more than allowed under the new system, and Zang urged them to make changes as required.
According to a white paper on China's national defence, released by the Information Office of the State Council late last year, the cuts will mainly affect officers and those from non-combatant institutions.
Since New China was established in 1949, the PLA has reduced in size nine times, with the total number of troops cut from 6.27 million in 1951 to 2.5 million in 2003.
According to the white paper, the PLA will optimize its structure by streamlining land forces and strengthening the development of navy, air and missile forces.
(Source: China Daily)