China’s President, Xi Jinping, has signed a new regulation on the supervision of military training for the People’s Liberation Army. The first of its kind in the country. The move will see inspectors deployed to oversee training and the establishment of a new regulation system.
This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by EJ Ward. EJ Ward is an experienced journalist covering international politics and breaking news in the UK. EJ has spent years covering China for a variety of broadcasters and publications and is currently based in London.
President Xi has undertaken a campaign of military reform since taking office, including purges of high-level generals who were selling military titles, and reforming military command structures.
Xi has also reduced the size of the army, which now accounts for less than 50 per cent of the total number of PLA troops. In January Xinhuia, the Chinese state news agency said that almost half of non-combatant units had been made redundant, and the number of officers in the PLA had been reduced by 30 per cent.
With the largest military in the world, two million strong, China is now seeking to fall into line with other nations by rectifying “practices that are inconsistent with the requirements of actual combat”, accord to the PLA Daily.
The regulation will also set out criteria for dealing with malpractice and violations of discipline during military training. With an increase in peacekeeping operations
The Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency has previously said that the PLA is changing from a “defensive, inflexible ground-based force charged with domestic and peripheral security responsibilities to a joint, highly agile, expeditionary, and power-projecting arm of Chinese foreign policy”.
In 2018 China raised their defence budget by more than 8%, to $175 billion, more than twice that of the UK.
Lieutenant General Robert P. Ashley, Jr. the Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency has previously said that the growth of China’s military would at times run counter to US interests, “As China continues to grow in strength and confidence, our nation’s leaders will face a China insistent on having a greater voice in global interactions, which at times may be antithetical to U.S. interests”.
Adm. Philip Davidson, the US Pacific Commander has said that China presents “the greatest long-term threat to a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” and that China was seeking to create a new international order led by China and with Chinese characteristics.
The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. James Inhofe, has, said that the US military needs “urgent change at a significant scale” to deal with China.
On Monday, the United States sailed two guided-missile destroyers, the USS Spruance and the USS Preble close to disputed islands in the South China Sea as part of freedom of navigation operations.
Meanwhile, the world’s two largest economies are mid-trade war, as they attempt to come to a deal ahead of a March 1st deadline.
If a deal is not reached Washington is set to increase tariffs from 10% to 25% on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.