Chinese President Xi Jinping has told the military to transform itself into an elite force, as he oversaw a parade with flybys of advanced jets and a mass rally of troops to mark 90 years since the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China, said “Today, we are closer to the goal of rejuvenating China than any other time in history.”
“We must fully implement the CPC’s plans on building a strong military, follow the path of strengthening the army with Chinese characteristics and build the heroic PLA into a world-class military.”
The PLA, which is one of the world’s largest military forces with around 2 million service personnel, is in the midst of an ambitious modernisation program, which includes investment in technology and new equipment such as stealth fighters and aircraft carriers, as well as cuts to troop numbers.
Xi presided over the large-scale military parade at the remote Zhurihe training base in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region, where he inspected troops from the back of a jeep, an event carried live on state television.