Beijing sends upgraded tropical wear to make troops comfortable at disputed South China Sea outposts
- Chinese state media reports on technologies being used to improve soldiers’ lives in remote – and controversial – stations
- Better logistics and medical care deemed essential for a strong, modern fighting force
The kit includes camouflage clothing and inner wear made from breathable and quick-drying fabrics to help keep troops dry and moving in hot tropical weather, according to the Chinese military mouthpiece the PLA Daily.
“The new combat clothing is … more suitable to wear in the South China Sea environment. It allows higher training efficiency and more vigorous patrol activities,” soldier Li Zhenshuang was quoted in the report as saying.
Another soldier, Zhan Jianrong, agreed and said the new underwear was more comfortable.
Zhou Jiang, an officer in charge of procurement for a Southern Theatre Command navy unit, told the PLA Daily the newly designed clothes and shoes would help improve training performance and the PLA navy’s procurement unit would continue to provide better performing clothing for soldiers in tropical areas.
Late last year, Xinhua state media reported that the PLA had provided boots that were 27 per cent lighter and allowed greater agility for soldiers at Fiery Cross.
In late 2020, the Chinese military commissioned a new hospital ship, the Nanyi 13, to provide mobile medical support in civilian and military missions in the South China Sea, Chinese media reported. Nanyi 13 visits islands, filling a void in maritime medical rescue across the vast South China Sea, even though China has built several medical facilities on artificial islands.
Song Zhongping, a military analyst and a former instructor with the Second Artillery Corps, said the modernisation of China’s military forces included better logistics support, helping soldiers to be at their strongest during actual combat.
“Better logistical support can save soldiers’ maximum physical strength and help them engage in combat operations to safeguard Chinese sovereignty and interests,” Song said.