China on Friday announced that it has downsized and restructured the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to 2.3 million while increasing the proportion of the navy, air force and strategic nuclear force by 3.8 per cent to emerge as a powerful fighting force.
200,000 personnel between 2003 and 2005 have downsized the PLA. The PLA currently has 2.3 million troops, a White Paper on China's National Defence in 2006 issued by the Chinese cabinet said.
In 1985, 1997 and 2003, China announced that it would downsize the PLA by one million, 500,000 and 200,000 troops, respectively.
"The PLA has made new progress towards the goal of being proper in size, optimal in structure, streamlined in organisation, swift and flexible in command, and powerful in fighting capacity," the White Paper says.
It says that the Army was the focus of the force reduction, and its authorised number of personnel has been reduced by more than 130,000.
Over 60,000 military personnel have been removed from the headquarters and directly affiliated units of military area commands and provincial military commands.
Through restructuring, the proportion of the Navy, Air Force and Second Artillery Force in the PLA has been raised by 3.8 per cent while that of the Army has been lowered by 1.5 per cent, it says.
The PLA has also streamlined the headquarters and directly affiliated units as well as educational institutions.
More than 3,000 departments of and over 400 units directly affiliated to the headquarters and above the regimental level have been cut.