Stepping up efforts to modernize China's national defense and armed forces, Premier said it is an important guarantee for safeguarding national security and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
"We will energetically carry forward military reforms with Chinese characteristics and work hard to modernize national defense and armed forces to a higher stage of development," according to the government work report made available to press prior to Wen's adress to the national legislature's annual session.
As part of the strategy of using science and technology to build strong armed forces, China will focus on developing new and high technology weaponry and equipment, foster a new type of highly competent military personnel, and promote modernization of the armed forces with IT application as the main content and mechanization as the basis in order to enhance its overall defense capability under hi-tech conditions, according to the copy.
"We will adhere to the principle of running the army in accordance with the law and increase its standardization" and "continue to balance efforts to strengthen national defense and economic development and raise the overall effectiveness of efforts to strengthen defense."
China will work painstakingly to adjust and realign its military strength to ensure that the armed forces are reduced by 200,000 troops and that related tasks are completed by 2005.
Meanwhile, the country will make the People's Armed Police more proficient and more capable of responding to emergencies, the report notes.
During the 10-day session, deputies will also deliberate and vote the draft amendments to the country's Constitution.
(China Daily March 5, 2004)