Decorated Chinese war veteran to take up top job at heart of Xi’s military reform drive

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 August, 2017, 12:10am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 August, 2017, 12:10am

A decorated veteran of the Sino-Vietnamese war has been named to head the military wing overseeing the People’s Liberation Army’s combat planning, strategy, logistics and training, the Chinese defence ministry announced late on Saturday.

Li Zuocheng, commanding officer of the PLA’s ground forces, met a military delegation from Pakistan on Saturday in his new capacity as head of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission.

Li, 64, a Hunan native, was awarded a first-class merit for his role in China’s conflict with Vietnam in 1979. His combat unit was also awarded a collective order of merit.

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He has been seen as one of President Xi Jinping’s rising stars since 2013, when he was named chief of the former Chengdu Military Region. Li was promoted to full general in 2015 and his new role is crucial to Xi’s military reforms.

Xi has launched an overhaul of the military to shape the PLA into a modern force that can “win and fight wars”.