China’s Xi sets up five new ‘battle zones’ in military reform push

BEIJING–China on Monday inaugurated the military’s five new “battle zones,” the Defense Ministry said, the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s efforts to reform the country’s armed forces.

Xi’s push to reform the military coincides with China becoming more assertive in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, and as its navy invests in submarines and aircraft carriers and its air force develops stealth fighters.

Monday’s move, which had been flagged in advance by state media, reclassified seven military regions into five–the East, West, South, North and Middle battle zones.

They will constitute what the Defense Ministry said in an online statement was each zone’s “highest-level joint combat command structure.”

Xi said the new zones shoulder the responsibility of responding to their respective “security threats, upholding peace and constraining conflict.”

“All battle zones must unwaveringly listen to the Party’s direction, insist upon the Party’s absolute leadership,” Xi said. State media showed Xi handing flags to the zone’s new commanders.

Full article: China’s Xi sets up five new ‘battle zones’ in military reform push (The Asahi Shimbun)

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