Will cut 300K troops: China Troop Cuts
Published: September 3, 2015
Will cut 300K troops: China Troop Cuts, China celebrates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a vast military parade in central Beijing on Thursday morning local time (Wednesday evening Eastern time).
The cut would shrink military forces to two million personnel, the China News Service, a state-run agency, said.
In announcing the cuts, the largest in nearly two decades, Mr. Xi signaled his determination to press forward with his agenda of military restructuring despite China’s economic slowdown. The government will be under pressure to find jobs for the demobilized soldiers, many with limited skills.
The parade, which began immediately after Mr. Xi spoke, was called a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, but appeared to be an attempt by the Communist Party to showcase the nation’s rising military might to a global audience.
Many outside observers saw it as a display of the assertive posture China has taken in the region as territorial disputes have flared, prompting the United States to underline its military dominance of Asian seas.
Rory Medcalf, the head of the National Security College at the Australian National University in Canberra, said the reductions were unlikely to ease regional worries about China’s growing military strength, because they were part of the modernization program to shift the People’s Liberation Army’s resources from traditional land forces.
“It would seem to be a pleasant surprise, because he’s clearly dressing it up as a signal of peace and good will,” Professor Medcalf said by telephone. “But China probably doesn’t need an army as large as it has.”
“Personnel are a massive cost in a military budget, and there’s been a lot of growth in military wages in China in recent years, so there are sensible capability reasons to cut personnel numbers without cutting effectiveness,” Professor Medcalf said. “This could also free up part of the budget for rebalancing the P.L.A. towards more advanced capabilities.”
The reduction announced by Mr. Xi is similar in size to cuts made under his predecessor, President Jiang Zemin, who in the early 2000s trimmed troop numbers by 200,000. M. Taylor Fravel, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies the Chinese military, said the move showed that Mr. Xi’s plans for reorganizing the military were continuing, despite the lack of publicly disclosed details since those plans were declared in 2013.
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