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Xi Jinping orders biggest Chinese military reorganization since 2015

Xi Jinping orders biggest Chinese military reorganization since 2015


BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered what amounts to 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, established more than eight years ago to strengthen its capabilities in space, cyber, political and electronic warfare, the official Xinhua news agency reported on April 19.

Mr. 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.

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.

Mr 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 Mr Bi Yi, state television CCTV reported.


The changes are aimed at better adapting China's military to the computerization conditions of modern warfare, said Mr. Cao Weidong, a retired senior researcher at the PLA Naval Research Academy.

The restructuring will lead to better deployment of satellite systems, cyberspace and electronic warfare, he told reporters on the sidelines of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Qingdao.

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

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, Britain and New Zealand accused China in March of sponsoring malicious cyber activities targeting democratic institutions.

The latest overhaul follows a sweeping purge of the military establishment by Mr Xi in 2023. US intelligence experts saw the move as a response to the discovery of widespread corruption within the military, including as part of 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 Mr Dong Jun, a navy veteran, as its new defense chief in December. BLOOMBERG




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