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President Xi calls for accelerated development of military technologies

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the country's defence-industrial base to ‘step up' efforts to develop new military technologies and advanced weaponry.

The drive is needed, he said, to enable the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to achieve its modernisation milestones later this decade.

Speaking at a conference on military equipment and weapons in Beijing on 26 October, Xi claimed China achieved “leapfrog development” in military technologies during the country's 13th Five Year Plan (FYP), which ended in 2020.

This progress served as the “material and technological underpinning for the country's strategic capabilities”, said Xi in comments published by the official Xinhua news agency.

However, Xi also said this development needs to accelerate during China's 14th FYP, which runs 2021–25. He indicated that such progress is needed to support the PLA's stated goal to “build a modern military” by 2027, its centennial anniversary.

Xi went on to call on China's defence industry to “step up” the implementation of the 14th FYP and to “step up” the development of a “modern management system” to develop weapons and equipment.

“This [will] make a positive contribution to the realization of the 100-year goal of building the PLA,” said President Xi.

China's official blueprint of the 14th FYP – issued in late 2020 – outlines a requirement for the PLA to accelerate its transition from ‘mechanisation' towards ‘informationisation' and ‘intelligentisation'.

This refers to a transition from military platform modernisation towards the widespread adoption within the PLA of fully networked digital systems enabling higher levels of jointness and combat capacity. The blueprint said this transition should be broadly achieved by 2027.

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