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PLA top reshuffle catches eyes of international media

(China Military Online)

10:30, October 30, 2012

According to Chinese media, Ma Xiaotian, former deputy chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), succeeds Xu Qiliang as commander of the PLA Air Force, and Wang Guanzhong, former director of the General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC), is appointed as deputy chief of General Staff. Zhang Yang, former political commissar of the Guangzhou Military Area Command (MAC) of the PLA, takes the office of director of the General Political Department (GPD) of the PLA. Tian Xiusi, former political commissar of the Chengdu MAC, replaces Deng Changyou as political commissar of the PLA Air Force, and Zhu Fuxi, former director of the Political Department of the PLA Air Force, takes the vacancy as political commissar of the Chengdu MAC. Former Political Commissar of the PLA Air Force Deng Changyou has reaches the retiring age and been relieved of his office.

Among the above mentioned newly-appointed high-ranking military officials, several of them have stood the test of urgent, difficult, dangerous and important tasks, and have profound political and military attainments and real-combat experience, stated a report in the website of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

It is reported that the reshuffle focuses on strengthening exchanges among the responsible military and political officers of the GSH, the CMC, all major military area commands and all services of the PLA.

The new appointments indicate that the high level of the PLA will witness the largest personnel changes for decades, reported the Financial Times.

The reshuffle may improve the status of the PLA Air Force and the PLA Navy, according to the Wall Street Journal's analysis.

Dr. Taylor Fravel with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who is an expert on the Chinese military, said the reshuffle indicates that competent professional military officers have got promotion to the key positions, who will continue to push forward the modernization drive of the Chinese military.

The Chinese military is at an important juncture on the occasion of the reshuffle, said a report in the Wall Street Journal. The Chinese military is rapidly developing its air and naval forces to challenge the military dominance of the United States (US) in Asia. Currently, the US has relocated its military focus to Asia and strengthened its defense relations with its Asian allies and cooperative partners, so as to counter China, said the report.

However, the Daily Telegraph pointed out that the PLA has been prudent on directly involving in the recent incidents related to Japan and the South China Sea.

"The PLA high level is aware that it needs more time for the Chinese military to reach its modernization aim," said Dennis J. Blasko, former U.S. military attaché to China. "Therefore, in my opinion, the PLA leaders are more prudent than the public outside China think."

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