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Chinese army stresses stable food supply for soldiers amid price hike
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16:59, September 03, 2007

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The General Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) ordered all units to "take forceful measures" to ensure stable food supply for soldiers amid food price hike, according to a circular issued on Monday.

"All army units should take measures fit for their own conditions so as to offset the impact of price hikes and ensuring that soldiers' life standard would not drop," the department said.

Led by the rising price of pork, a most common staple food of Chinese, food prices have being climbing high in the past several months.

Official statistics show the average wholesale pork price rose 11.5 percent in July, making an 85.8-percent increase on the same month last year due to short supply and mounting production costs.

All units could use surplus funds from previous years to subsidize soldiers' food in accordance with local conditions, the military decree said, adding they could adjust dietary as long as the food met the army's preset nutritional standard.

The circular calls for close monitor over the whole process of food supply from purchase to processing, and increase food safety supervision.

"Soldiers stationed in tough or remote areas shall have access to fresh vegetables and troops stationed in unpopulated islands may raise livestock to improve food supplies," it said.

China has decided to increase the food subsidy of its soldiery by 10 percent to 11 yuan per day (1.45 U.S. dollars) per person from 10 yuan earlier this year.

"The rise will help offset the impact of price hikes and improve food for soldiers, as military training demands a lot of energy and a strong body," said Liao Xilong, director of the PLA General Logistics Department, in an interview with Xinhua.

China's defense budget for 2007 is expected to hit 351 billion yuan (45 billion U.S. dollars), 17.8 percent higher than last year. And Liao said that the rise will be used to improve salaries, pensions, create new uniforms, and also on military training for China's 2.3 million servicemen.

Source: Xinhua

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