The PLA has made substantial advances in combat ability, according to the military. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) quoted military authorities saying last year's exercises, particularly those held along the southeast coast, had raised the organisational and command skills of officers across the board. Last year, officers of different divisions took part in more than 4,000 series of strategy sessions. Xinhua said the Army and Air Force had improved their skills with live ammunition drills and bombardments, while the Navy had boosted its ability to operate in rough seas. The agency said senior generals were satisfied with the results of the first year of the PLA's Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) on training. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 soldiers and 1,000 vehicles took part in a landing exercise late last year, increasing their naval combat capability, the Liberation Army Daily said yesterday. A division of the Guangzhou military region conducted the exercise.