22 April 2016
China has unveiled President Xi Jinping’s newest title, commander-in-chief of China’s new joint battle command centre, another move in what is seen as a consolidation of his power over the military.
The official Xinhua news agency and state broadcaster CCTV both carried reports referring to Mr Xi by the new description for the first time after he visited the command centre on Wednesday wearing a new camouflage uniform.
Mr Xi is also general secretary of the Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). He also heads the National Security Council, which gives him greater control over domestic security services.
Military experts said the new position, which strengthens Mr Xi’s status as China’s most powerful leader in decades, signals the stamping of his personal authority over the world’s biggest army and a more direct role in overseeing it. This is as opposed to his predecessors like Mr Hu Jintao who delegated operational responsibilities to professional soldiers. It is also part of wider military reforms the leader has spearheaded to make the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) a leaner and more efficient fighting force, they added.
… Dr Michael Raska, from the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that the move could also be part of efforts to quicken the pace of reforms at the operational level.
“The Chinese military has traditionally suffered from poor coordination of its various forces – the air force, army and navy,” he told The Straits Times. “Mr Xi’s new role is designed to help better integrate these units as part of military reforms, which he has been taking a hands-on approach to.”
GPO / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 22/04/2016