China to complete military cuts by 2017

Beijing, Sep 3 (IANS) China on Thursday said it will complete reduction of its standing troops by 300,000 by the end of 2017, in its latest effort to build a stronger armed forces.

The announcement by Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun came barely hours after President Xi Jinping pledged to cut military numbers at a massive military parade held earlier in the day at the Tiananmen Square in central Beijing to commemorate the end of the Second World War, Xinhua news agency reported.

Yang said the move will mainly target troops equipped with outdated armaments, administrative staff and non-combatant personnel, to optimise the structure of Chinese armed forces.

He said the disarmament decision was in line with the current situation of the state and military.

“Chinese armed forces will be slimmer but more capable, and their composition will be more scientific,” the spokesman said.

This will be the fourth military reduction since the 1980s for China, which boasts the world’s biggest militaries of 2.3 million. In 1985, China downsized its army by more than 1 million, the biggest scale ever.

Yang said the reform will adopt a step-by-step approach. “More reform measures will be released,” he added.

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