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China's Xi says military must develop cutting edge technology
March 14, 2016 / 7:26 AM / a year ago

China's Xi says military must develop cutting edge technology

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China's President Xi Jinping attends the second plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 9, 2016.Kim Kyung-hoon

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's military must pour efforts into developing cutting edge defence technology, which has strategic significance, China's President Xi Jinping said on Sunday, according to state media reports.

Xi also stressed professionalising the country's military brass, the official China Daily reported on Monday. The armed forces have long been plagued with corruption, which senior officers have cautioned threatens combat capabilities.

Xi, who also chairs the elite Central Military Commission, has targeted corrupt military officials as part of a sprawling campaign against graft that has felled many political foes.

The capability to innovate will determine the future of the Chinese armed forces, he said, briefing lawmakers from the military.

China has poured funds in recent years into developing a high-tech weapons manufacturing industry. It has found buyers among cost-conscious countries that are unable to buy arms from the United States and its allies.

China's military rise has unnerved Asian countries, including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, with which Beijing has maritime territorial disputes.

Xi is seeking to drag the People's Liberation Army, the world's largest armed forces, into the modern age, cutting 300,000 jobs and revamping its Cold War-era command structure.

China said earlier this month it would hike military spending by 7.6 percent this year, the lowest increase in six years, amid a slowing economy.

China, the world's second-largest economy, is increasingly exposed to international crises like the Middle East but has little experience at dealing with them, unlike established powers like the United States and Russia.

Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Michael Perry

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