Hi-tech update to create 'crack' PLA

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 March, 1999, 12:00am

More efforts to modernise the People's Liberation Army, helping it become a crack force through science and technology and the rule of law, were urged by the Premier.

Priority was given to 'quality development of key weaponry equipment to enhance the defence capability in the hi-tech context'.

Mr Zhu called for a 'thorough implementation of the military strategy of active defence'.

Last month, the Communist Party Congress for the PLA Air Force declared it would strive to improve its capability as both an offensive and defensive force.

The economic tsar said that defence industries would undergo restructuring according to the principle of dual military and civilian applications, in an apparent reference to last year's mandatory handover of military businesses to the state.

His Government Work Report included the reform of China's mobilisation mechanism in the militia and reserve service.

Earlier reports have confirmed a reserve unit in Shanxi province would be established this year according to new regulations.

Despite the official pledge to reduce the standing army by 500,000 by next year, the report proposed strengthening the People's Armed Police, the paramilitary force in charge of domestic security.

Mr Zhu's emphasis on settling the demobilised soldiers drew instant enthusiastic applause from NPC deputies.

How local governments were managing to absorb the tens of thousands of discharged troops has not been addressed.