BEIJING: On Friday, state media said three new military units have been created by China as a major part of an overhaul of the armed forces and has also updated the equipment and it’s also modernizing its command structure announced by the President Xi Jinping in November.
Li was previously Commander of the key Chengdu military region which includes restless and strategically vital Tibet.
China’s Navy is investing in submarines and aircraft carriers and its air force is developing stealth fighters.
Xi inaugurated a new general command unit for the army, a missile force and a strategic support force for People’s Liberation Army (PLA), at a ceremony on Thursday, state news agency Xinhua said.
Beijing expands its naval capabilities amid maritime disputes with neighbors in the East and South China Seas, This aircraft carrier is being developed according to entirely domestic designs, defense ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun told a regular briefing, adding it was under construction in Dalian, according to the northeastern port.
Beijing has rapidly expanded its military in recent years, rattling its neighbors and attracting the attention of the United States, which is making a foreign policy “pivot” towards Asia.
In recent months, US ships and planes have approached the new islands to assert international rights to freedom of navigation, with a B-52 bomber on one occasion unintentionally flying within two nautical miles of one of them.
Beijing claims almost all the strategically vital South China Sea, even waters close to the coasts of other states, and has turned a series of reefs and outcrops in disputed waters into artificial islands capable of hosting facilities with military purposes.
International seas and airspace belong to everyone and are not the dominion of any single nation, US Admiral Harry Harris said at the Stanford Centre at Peking University last month.
“Our military will continue to fly, sail, and operate whenever and wherever international law allows. The South China Sea is not and will not be an exception,” he added, according to a transcript.
Jinping’s pledge to cut China’s 2.3 million member People’s Liberation Army (PLA) comes amid rising manpower costs and technological capabilities that reduce the need for large numbers of personnel.
Despite the cut, which will bring the headcount of the army down to about 2m, the PLA will remain the world’s largest standing military.
Once known for its human wave tactics in conflicts such as the Korean War, the PLA is increasingly focused on high tech weaponry and projecting power abroad through its navy and air force.