President Says Army Needs to Modernize

Speaking at a panel discussion among PLA deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) yesterday, President Jiang Zemin urged the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to subject itself to the absolute leadership of the Party while also speeding up its own modernization processes and enhancing defence combat effectiveness under high-tech conditions.

The Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) has been in session in Beijing since Monday.

Jiang praised the PLA for its achievements in military modernization over the past five years and for its excellent performance in major military exercises and flood relief. He also lauded the military parade marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the assumption of defence responsibilities in Hong Kong and Macao.

He called on the PLA to make new contributions to the modernization of the country during the 10th Five-Year Plan period from 2001 to 2005.

The PLA must have a clear understanding of its historic mission in safeguarding national security, unity and social stability, the president said.

He urged the PLA to retain its sense of political responsibility and remain aware of its historical mission while expending greater efforts to enhance its defence combat effectiveness. "The PLA should closely monitor changing situations, prepare itself well for various military tasks and help local authorities maintain social stability.".

Jiang stressed the importance of strengthening political education in the PLA to ensure the absolute loyalty of the armed forces to the Party.

To accelerate the pace of military modernization, Jiang said the PLA must give priority to the development of advanced defence technologies. "The enhancement of the PLA's combat effectiveness should rely mainly on progress in science and technology," he said.

Vice-President Hu Jintao was also present at the group discussion.

(Xinhua 03/10/2001)

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