PLA agency aims to give military a confidence boost

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am


The Central Military Commission has set up a strategic planning agency which analysts said would help better define the People's Liberation Army's role, amid the need to rebuild its 'self-confidence' on the global stage with China's rise.

Speaking at the agency's inauguration yesterday, commission vice-chairman Guo Boxiong said the new agency would 'improve the strategic management of the military'.

He urged the agency to establish smooth and efficient co-operation with central government ministries and local authorities, it was reported on the PLA Daily website yesterday.

Xinhua said the portfolio of the agency, affiliated with the army's general staff department, includes studying strategic issues, charting plans for the army's development and reforms, making proposals on allocation and control of resources, co-ordination among different departments and cross-sectoral issues.

The PLA Daily did not say who heads the agency.

Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military expert, said the agency would also deal with economic, trade, energy security, cultural and even diplomatic issues.

'[It] will help the PLA learn how to play as a great country's army. For example, what could we do when our sovereignty in the South China Sea is challenged by other countries?' he said. 'The PLA feels it has lost the initiative at home and overseas, making it not feel like a great power's army.'

Song Xiaojun, a military expert in Beijing, said the agency will devise a 'self-confident' ideology for the PLA and encourage it to safeguard China's 'self-esteem' globally.

'The PLA will come out with a new security framework for its future development direction, with the establishment of a China-based security value being the first priority,' he said, adding that China's ambiguous stance on the South China Sea issue had encouraged neighbours who disputed its territorial claims to seek the help of the United States. 'We should grab the initiative back ... why should we always follow the game rules of Western countries?'

Song said Beijing had adjusted its economic and cultural development direction and it was time for the military to re-examine its performance.