Beijing, October 27: Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to become a top-ranked military by the year 2050. “A military force is built to fight. Our military must regard combat readiness as the goal for all its work and focus on how to win when it is called upon,” Xi said.
The remarks, made at the 19th Communist Party National Conference, also stressed that the PLA must adopt the latest in information warfare technology, boosting the PLA's ability to share data across the armed services. By 2050, the PLA must become a top ranked military, which presumably means expansion to parity, or something like it, with the United States military.
Xi also said the military’s ongoing overhaul should include changes to the PLA’s top brass, better integration between the civilian and military sectors, and stronger border defence forces.
Meanwhile, Xi made the remarks when meeting senior military officers in Beijing Thursday. Xi said that during the past five years, the CMC has endeavored to build an army that follows the command of the CPC, is capable of winning battles and has a fine style of work.
It has been upholding the Party's absolute leadership over the armed forces, innovating military strategy, governing the army by law and promoting civil-military integration.
Xi praised the 19th CPC National Congress a success, saying that by the year 2020, mechanization will be basically achieved, and the modernization of the national defense and armed forces should be basically completed by 2035.
Beijing has also been driven to modernise by the US’ military deployment in the Asia-Pacific and Washington’s defence ties with China’s neighbours.
Today China's army stands at 2.3 million men and women, divided into 1.25 million for the PLA Ground Forces (PLAGF), 265,000 in the PLA Navy (PLAN) and Marine Corps, and 330,000 in the PLA Air Force (PLAAF).
China develops and manufactures almost all of its own military equipment, an expensive proposition. But with the arms embargo in place it has little alternative. China's first fifth-generation fighter, the Chengdu J-20, is now operational, and the country is building more aircraft carriers to join the Liaoning, which entered service in 2011.