GO
Loading...

China military to launch "joint command" to reorganise forces - report

Thursday, 2 Jan 2014 | 7:41 PM ET

SHANGHAI, Jan 3 (Reuters) - The Chinese military will establish a joint operational command over its military forces to improve coordination between different parts of the country's increasingly sophisticated military system, the official China Daily reported on Friday citing the Ministry of Defense.

China has been moving rapidly to upgrade its military hardware, but military analysts say operational integration of complex and disparate systems across a regionalised command structure is a major challenge for Beijing.

In the past, regional level military commanders have enjoyed major latitude over their forces and branches of the military have remained highly independent of each other, making it difficult to exercise the centralised control necessary to use new weapons systems effectively in concert.

The report quoted comments made to China Daily by the Ministry of National Defense saying that China will implement a joint command system "in due course" and that it has already launched pilot programmes to that effect.

China currently has seven military regions traditionally focused around ground-based army units, but China's changing security interests, over claims to potentially energy rich submarine reserves in the South China Sea, has highlighted its need to focus more on air and naval forces.

China and Japan are engaged in an intensifying standoff over a set of uninhabited disputed islands, and the Japanese government appears to be ready to ramp up military spending and adjust its nominally pacifist stance to a more confrontational one as the two militaries circle each other.

China is also engaged in similar disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.

"China has built an iron bastion in its border regions. The major concern lies at sea," said Li Qonggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies, as quoted in the report.

(Reporting by Pete Sweeney; Editing by Michael Perry)