Adds context, background
BEIJING, March 19 (Reuters) – China signed new rules on the supervision of military equipment purchase contracts on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency said, part of long-term efforts by the country to modernise its military.
China aims to complete the modernisation of its armed forces by 2035 and turn the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a world-class military by the middle of the century.
President Xi Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission overseeing the armed forces, has continually pushed for new rules and regulations to assess, procure and test weaponry and equipment.
The latest rules aim to improve efficiency in the supervision of military equipment purchase contracts and make sure good quality equipment is delivered to the army, Xinhua said, without giving specific details.
The rules will come into effect on March 20.
The announcement came one day after Xi had a video call with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden during which they discussed the Ukraine war.
During the call, Biden warned China against supporting Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Biden also said China, which has called for a ceasefire in Ukraine, makes its own decisions.
For decades, Russia has aided China in modernising its military, supplying its neighbour with weapons and equipment from naval guns to transport aircraft. No weapons transfers have been made in the other direction, according to independent arms transfer data. nL3N2VJ0KO
In October last year, Xi called for efforts to “break new ground” in military equipment and weapons development for the PLA. nL1N2RM0VU
China routinely carries out miliary exercises in the South China Sea, a large part of which it claims. It also sometimes deploys military aircraft into the air defence zone of self-governed Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.
On Friday, China sailed its aircraft carrier Shandong through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a source previously told Reuters. nL3N2VL1MA
China also has a long-term border dispute with India.
China, which says it pursues a national defence policy, plans to spend 7.1% more on defence this year, outpacing last year’s hike. nL2N2V8044
(Reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing and Zoey Zhang and Engen Tham in Shanghai; Editing by Christina Fincher)
This article originally appeared on reuters.com