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Xi wants elite military

BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping told the military yesterday to transform itself into an elite force, as he oversaw a parade with flybys of advanced jets and a mass rally of troops to mark 90 years since the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

China’s armed forces, the world’s largest, are in the midst of an ambitious modernization program, which includes investment in technology and new equipment such as stealth fighters and aircraft carriers, as well as cuts to troop numbers.

Xi presided over the large-scale military parade at the remote Zhurihe training base in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region, where he inspected troops from the back of a jeep, an event carried live on state television.

Traveling down a long strip lined with tanks, missile launchers, and other military vehicles, Xi, wearing military fatigues and a field cap, greeted thousands of troops.

Xi, who oversees the PLA in his role as head of the powerful Central Military Commission, repeatedly shouted, “Hello comrades” and “Comrades, you are working hard!” into four microphones fixed atop his motorcade as martial music blared in the background. The troops bellowed back: “Serve the people!,” “Follow the Party!,” “Fight to win!,” and “Forge exemplary conduct!.” (Reuters)

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