China to reduce military by 300,000 troops

World Today

China troopsChinese troops march during the V-Day Parade, Sept. 3, 2015. (Photo: CFP)

China will cut the number of its troops by 300,000, President Xi Jinping said Thursday. The total number of troops in the Chinese PLA has gone down from 6.27 million to 2 million.

Xi made the announcement during a speech at a gathering to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese people’s resistance against Japanese aggression during WWII.

“The cut will mainly target troops equipped with outdated armaments, office staff and personnel of non-combat organizations, and optimize the structure of the PLA,” Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense of the PRC, said during a press conference. He added that the reduction was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.

China has made several changes in troop numbers over time. The total number of troops in the Chinese PLA has gone down to 2 million from 6.27 million. In 1985, the country decided to reduce the force by 1 million troops in an effort to focus on accelerating economic development and strengthening the quality of the troops.

Military troop levels in China
Since 1987. Reduction percents are from previous levels.

In 1987, the total troops of the People’s Liberation Army were reduced again to a 3.2 million from 4.2 million. In 1990, the number of troops lowered to 3.199 million, with a total cut of a little over 1 million.

In 1997, China decided to further shrink its troops by 500,000 within three years, reducing the total to 2.5 million.

Between 2003 and 2005, another cut of 200,000 downsized the troops to 2.3 million. At this point, the army was the smallest in the country’s history.

Includes reporting from Xinhua, CCTV News, and