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Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday called for building strong armed forces – under the command of the Communist Party leadership – that commensurate with the country’s international status and national security. Speaking at a function to commemorate 80th anniversary of victory of Long March led by Chairman Mao Zedong to capture power, Xi, who is regarded as the most powerful leader after Mao, said the party’s absolute leadership over armed forces is the fundamental guarantee for the army’s victory.
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“To build a strong country requires efforts to build a strong army, and only with a strong army can the country’s security be guaranteed,” said Xi, the general secretary of Communist Party of China and chairman of Central Military Commission – the high command of the Chinese military.
His comments came amid reports of murmurs of dissent over his military reforms which included retrenchment of three lakh troops to downsize 2.3-million strong People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – the world’s largest military.
Xi has already reconstituted military’s administrative and command structure after carrying out an anti-corruption drive in which several retired and servicing top officials were indicted.
He called for efforts to foster a new generation of Chinese servicemen who are “soldiers with soul, high caliber, gut and virtue,” and to build rock-solid troops with “iron-like belief, conviction, discipline and commitment.”
“The Long March is the glory of the people’s army, and the honourable people’s army must always carry forward the great spirit and fine tradition of the Red Army in the Long March,” Xi said.
He called on the armed forces to adhere to the party’s absolute leadership, maintain their nature and uphold their principles as the people’s army, and be the heir to the Red Army.
Moreover, he urged the military to uphold political integrity, promote reform and rule of law, and strengthen combat readiness, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The entire military should remain vigilant and be aware of its responsibilities, Xi said, noting that the modernisation of national defence and armed forces must advance in a bid to safeguard the country’s national sovereignty, security and development interest.