China's military rocket force uncovers 'shortcomings' - PLA Daily

Reuters · 09/15/2023 06:52
China's military rocket force uncovers 'shortcomings' - PLA Daily

- A unit of China's Rocket Force uncovered "shortcomings" during a field assessment of an exercise, the PLA Daily reported on Friday in a rare critique, suggesting gaps in combat readiness at the armed force overseeing conventional and missiles.

Assessment of problems in the training and preparation of troops must be done "every day and every month" to clear up bottlenecks and difficulties, the official of the Chinese military reported, citing a Communist Party leader of a unit at the Rocket Force who went on a recent field survey.

The combat readiness of the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force, a strategic branch of the Chinese military, has come under focus recently after its two most senior leaders were suddenly replaced at the end of July with commanders from the force.

Since August, the Rocket Force has conducted at least two drills and training sessions, according to its official account on Weibo, a popular Chinese microblog.

In the year to date, Communist Party members of the Rocket Force have visited the front lines of drills and exercises "multiple times" to assess the unit's combat readiness, according to the PLA Daily.

Ad hoc groups of Party members have been able to meet the of troops scattered across "thousands of kilometres", the reported, citing one of the problems.

Their "spirit" should be focused, it said.

The also cited a lack of staffing at a certain brigade.

On a visit to troops stationed in Heilongjiang province early this month, President Xi Jinping, also the military's commander-in-chief, renewed his call for higher combat readiness as capabilities are being built.

The uncertainties over leadership have been solely focused on the Rocket Force.

In early September, Defence Minister Li Shangfu abruptly pulled out of a meeting with Vietnamese defence leaders, officials with direct knowledge of the matter previously told Reuters, amid questions about his absence from public view for weeks.

China's defence minister is mainly responsible for defence diplomacy and does command combat forces. His ministry has yet to comment on his absence.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Lincoln Feast)