Military Review

Infantry will become sailors?

On September 3, it became known that President Xi Jinping made a statement during a military parade on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II. According to Comrade Xi, China intends to reduce the size of the army by three hundred thousand people. Some analysts have associated such a large reduction with the economic problems of the Middle Kingdom. It should be noted that the explanation is quite convincing. Xi Jinping himself assures that the Chinese are striving for peace. However, there is an opinion of experts who believe that the Chinese leadership has planned a reduction in ground forces and will redistribute resources in favor of fleet.

Infantry will become sailors?

It is estimated that the People’s Liberation Army of China is the largest in the world. The number of PLA soldiers is about 2,3 million people. And even with such an impressive number of warriors, the number in three hundred thousand redundant looks very large.

September 3 at a military parade on the occasion of the 70 anniversary of the end of World War II, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the imminent reduction of the army to 300 thousands of people. “China will never seek hegemony and expansion,” Xi Jinping explained the decision of the party. The PRC Chairman also stressed that Beijing is committed to peace.

Some details about the upcoming cuts have become known from the message of the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of China Yang Yujun. Speaking at a press conference, he said that China would complete a reduction in army numbers by 300 by thousands of people by the end of 2017.

Yang Yujun’s statement followed a few hours after Xi Jinping spoke at a parade in Beijing.

“The current reduction in the size of the army will affect mainly troops with outdated weapons, administrative personnel and non-combat personnel. The reform as a whole will be completed by the end of 2017 of the year, ”quotes Yang Yujun RIA News".

He also noted that "the Chinese army will become smaller, but more effective."

What do the experts think about the reform?

“These are the expected plans that have repeatedly appeared in the form of various leaks,” said in an interview "Sight" Vasily Kashin, expert of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. - The reduction will occur mainly at the expense of the ground forces, which in the current political conditions in this volume China simply does not need, because China has no serious land opponents. This reduction will not mean any reduction in costs. We are talking about a major redistribution of resources from the ground forces towards more high-tech types of the armed forces, mainly the fleet. ”

According to the expert, the reform process will continue, because the sea direction is a priority for the Chinese strategy.

There is, however, another opinion about the planned reduction of the armed forces of China.

Alexei Maslov, head of the department of oriental studies at the Higher School of Economics, reminded that the PRC army had recently increased. According to Western experts, the increase in the PLA in 2010-2015. amounted to 500 thousand people.

According to the analyst, the announcement of a reduction of three hundred thousand people is a “symbolic gesture” that China needs to polish its image. “Over the past year,” the expert said, “the country has been subjected to very many accusations that it is building up its armed forces to change the policy in the direction of greater military aggression. And this was reflected in the image of China in East Asia as a country that has long preached purely economic issues. ”

In addition, the planned reform is aimed at modernizing the Chinese army: today it’s not the number of people that is important, but the quality of their training and new technologies.

Maslov noted that we are not talking about the dismissal of hundreds of thousands of people: “We are talking about the gradual withdrawal from military service of a number of non-core units, for example, those involved in the fight against catastrophes, and a reduction in conscription. This is a fundamental moment, Xi Jinping, of course, is extremely afraid of destabilizing the situation. ”

And here is another opinion.

Director of the Institute for Regional Development of Almaty University of Management Valikhan Tuleshov gave an interview to a Chinese agency Xinhuain which he noted that Xi Jinping’s statement on the reduction of the army’s number stems from China’s peace-loving foreign policy.

Tuleshov reminded the agency that China made a significant contribution to the victory over Japanese militarism and imperialism. During the Second World War, China lost 35 millions of people, the country was destroyed.

According to Tuleshov, a significant reduction in the number of the Chinese army is not at all talking about weakness, but on the contrary, about China’s increased strength.

It is easy to see that all the above opinions differ in some vagueness and abundance of common phrases. It can be concluded: experts are forced to guess what is happening in the PLA.

The other day in the media appeared interviews with people who showed a more thorough knowledge of the issue. In particular, it is noted that the “decorative-representative role” of some army command structures in the PRC will give way to real functions. The Chinese already have modern technology, but the management structures will have to be modernized.

“Prerequisites for PLA reform emerged a year ago, when Xi Jinping not only gained formal control over the armed forces, heading the Central Military Council, but also established a new body, the Security Council. Thus, conditions were created for reformatting the entire control system of the power structures, ”the newspaper said Kommersant Alexei Voskresensky, dean of the faculty of political science at MGIMO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

According to the political scientist, "the goal of the PLA reform is to allow it to quickly solve the problems that the country faces at a new stage." And here, first of all, “we are talking about creating a powerful fleet - several aircraft carrier groups, which will ensure the safety of the infrastructure of the Sea Silk Road and the implementation of other mega-projects proclaimed among Beijing's international priorities.” In addition, the need for the development of the fleet, and aviation dictated by the tense situation in the East China and South China Seas.

With reference to the Hong Kong edition of the South China Morning Post, the Kommersant newspaper gives some details about the reform of the PLA. The Hong Kong edition notes that the functions of the main political directorate, the general directorate of the rear and the general directorate of armaments will now be divided between the General Staff and the Ministry of Defense, which previously performed a decorative-representative role.

As Vasily Kashin, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Kommersant, the Chinese army’s reforms are due to the lagging of command and control structures from technical modernization processes: “Over the past 15 years, the Chinese have jumped over two technological generations and already have a full range of modern weapons. Now they need to teach the personnel to manage all this and update the command structure. ”

Thus, let us add, whatever one may say, and the number of the PLA will indeed be significantly reduced: the reforms will "thin out" troops with outdated weapons, cut down the number of administrative and non-combat personnel. Over the 15 years in the PLA, a lot of things have changed, and progress has not stood still. Parts with outdated weapons in the PRC represent today a real burden, which is especially noticeable at the time of economic instability. The emphasis in the modernization of the PLA will be on the fleet and aircraft, including because of the well-known island conflicts of China with its neighbors.

In addition to the economic and technological, there is another reason for the reduction of the army: 2,3 million. at the present level of development of the armed forces and the methods of "remote" war, Beijing simply does not need it. No one will climb into China, even if he puts two million soldiers against "all" enemies.

Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for

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  1. festival 1973
    festival 1973 8 September 2015 06: 58
    Will act in small groups of a million people!
    1. Libra
      Libra 8 September 2015 22: 10
      it’s more logical that China has finally made bets, Russia covers from the north and west, of course, that China needs to concentrate on the fleet, since the Japanese have a large fleet, the second largest
  2. Kibalchish
    Kibalchish 8 September 2015 07: 00
    Fleet is a specific thing. It can’t be built quickly, although the Chinese are trying.
  3. VohaAhov
    VohaAhov 8 September 2015 08: 23
    Maybe send them Serdyukov as Minister of Defense. He will cut it so cut.
  4. timyr
    timyr 8 September 2015 09: 02
    Quote: sanya.vorodis
    A good idea. Only not to China, but to the States!

    But is it possible for both posts at once, and in the USA and China
  5. Fotoceva62
    Fotoceva62 8 September 2015 09: 11
    Kibalchish (3) SU Today, 07:00 AM New
    Fleet is a specific thing. It cannot be built quickly, although the Chinese are trying. ”
    But China also has a very balanced one, and in the region it is also the most powerful, and the USA's AUGs are well compensated by coastal strike aircraft.
    Traditions are not enough ?, so this business is acquired. They probably need a fleet, and the army will even decrease, but this will not stop being the largest.
  6. Olezhek
    Olezhek 8 September 2015 10: 34
    In theory, that's right.
    If they do not have large land opponents, but there is a need for control over sea communications, but there is one, then the fleet must be increased and the army reduced - the budget is not rubber.
    For the USA, this is very VERY bad news ...
    It will be difficult for them to confront Russia and growing China at sea at the same time.
    (The problems in the economy they have not resolved at all)
    And then there are 80-ti million Iran with its ambitions ..
    The special position of the United States is based on full control of the sea routes (alas, this is so)
    If this control is questioned - the geopolitical picture of the world will change dramatically.
    But it’s already obvious that they cannot control the Atlantic (+ Mediterranean) and the Pacific Oceans at the same time on 100% ..
    The solution space for them is shrinking.
    1. Talgat
      Talgat 8 September 2015 19: 11
      Yes, I agree

      Those reasons are not in the economy - if there was a need, they would not look and build up the army

      Most likely. Yes. China is building up its fleet and aviation. Since the "era" of confrontation with the US empire begins, China is definitely moving towards taking the place of the USSR in the confrontation and becoming the center of the second pole of power

      And for a confrontation with potential opponents of the United States, Japan and the West as a whole need a fleet - also AUG and strategic aviation and Strategic Missile Forces

      And China, together with Russia and all of the CSTO + Iran, sees us all in the long term as allies and a source of resources — a reliable rear and supply. which can not interrupt the Navy of the West

      The Chinese (which pleases us) are clearly not going to fight with Russia and capture us with Central Asia in the coming decades - that is, they will reduce ground forces - once we decided on a strategy

      And about supplies
      It’s easy to shut off China’s marine supplies, and control of the ocean and straits in the west
      To cut off the supply of energy carriers and resources from Kazakhstan and Russia, it is necessary either to unleash the nuclear world or to unleash a second Hitler or Napoleon and fight by land through Russia and then across our steppes, which is unrealistic - so China decided to rely on reliable land supplies and turn us all to your "Warsaw Pact"
      1. Olezhek
        Olezhek 9 September 2015 12: 12
        To fight with Russia and seize us with Central Asia The Chinese (which is good) in the coming decades are clearly not going to

        The Chinese were much smarter than the Germans ...
        Now, if they had not fought with Russia, but had built a powerful fleet ... then today the German language could well have been an international language ...
  7. sagitch
    sagitch 8 September 2015 10: 40
    Some analysts have associated such a large reduction with the economic problems of the Middle Kingdom.

    The Chinese are not so stupid to announce economic problems to the whole world, or that they could associate with them (problems).
    They have their own plan, and I think not stupid!
  8. IAlex
    IAlex 8 September 2015 11: 18
    They’ll just take it and 300.000 marines will be deployed on ships and naval bases around the world, China has already economically bent many in Latin America and Africa :)))
  9. Olezhek
    Olezhek 8 September 2015 13: 18
    According to Tuleshov, a significant reduction in the number of the Chinese army is not at all talking about weakness, but on the contrary, about China’s increased strength.

    Something like this - already in the First World War the number itself did not solve much - artillery, machine guns ..
    Today, to increase the number of infantry, even for China, is meaningless.
    There are modern weapons in sufficient quantities and it is possible to reduce someone.

    But the fleet requires money and technology, not the masses of the people.
    As well, and aviation.

    If you look at the map of China (especially considering the most densely populated territories), we will see that
    they must be seriously covered from the ocean ...
    So as not followed by a sudden strike of cruise missiles.

    And all the countries neighbors - Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, Australia - are quite accessible from the ocean ..

    So the oceanic version of the development of the Chinese armed forces is quite predictable.
    And the ocean fleet is VERY expensive

    Well, in the coming years, we can safely predict the growth of confrontation in the seas adjacent to China.

    Just look at the map - the Americans somehow boldly jump over the gigantic Pacific Ocean and consider the seas adjacent to China almost their "internal"

    So it will be difficult to agree.