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Xi orders biggest Chinese military reorganization since 2015

Xi orders biggest Chinese military reorganization since 2015

 


CHINESE President Xi Jinping has ordered what is the biggest reorganization of the country's military since 2015, a move that affects the force's capabilities including cyberwarfare.

China will end the Strategic Support Force, created more than eight years ago to strengthen its capabilities in space, cyber, political and electronic warfare, the official Xinhua news agency reported Friday (April 19).

Xi in turn created a new branch called the Information Support Force. Aerospace and cyber units that previously fell under the Strategic Support Force will now be organizationally parallel to the newly created Information Support Force, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The aerospace unit will improve China's ability to use space and intensify space crisis management, the ministry said.

Reiterating the Communist Party's leadership over the military, Xi said the new force would provide key support in coordinating the construction and use of the cyber information system.

Li Wei, the political commissar of the now-defunct Strategic Support Force, will take on the same role within the Information Support Force. He pledged to resolutely listen to Xi's instructions. The new commander of the Information Support Force is Bi Yi, state television CCTV reported.

The former commander of the Strategic Support Force was Ju Qiansheng, whose disappearance sparked speculation that it was linked to broader unrest within China's military leadership that has unfolded over the past year. Although Ju recently resurfaced, state media has not clarified his current location.

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The restructuring comes as the world's second-largest economy faces the United States in a fight for global influence, with cyberwar emerging as a key battleground. The United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand accused China last month of sponsoring malicious cyber activities targeting democratic institutions.

The latest overhaul follows a sweeping purge led by Xi of the military establishment last year. U.S. intelligence experts viewed the move as a response to the discovery of widespread corruption within the military, including within Rocket Force, which manages the country's expanding nuclear arsenal.

Former Defense Minister Li Shangfu was ousted from office without explanation in October. China named Dong Jun, a navy veteran, as its new defense chief in December.BLOOMBERG

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