China on Monday inaugurated the military’s five new “battle zones”, the Defense Ministry said, the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s efforts to reform the country’s armed forces.
Xi’s push to reform the military coincides with China becoming more assertive in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, and as its navy invests in submarines and aircraft carriers and its air force develops stealth fighters.
The reforms include establishing a joint operational command structure by 2020 and rejigging existing military regions, as well as cutting troop numbers by 300,000, a surprise announcement he made in September.
Monday’s move, which had been flagged in advance by state media, reclassified seven military regions into five – the East, West, South, North and Middle battle zones. They will constitute what the Defense Ministry said in an online statement was each zone’s “highest-level joint combat command structure”. Read More