China tests new military structure

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China has begun a three-month drill to test the new structure of its armed forces following the military reforms announced last year, officials said on Saturday. Brigades from five commands that have emerged from the reorganisation of the PLA are taking part in the manoeuvre that began on Friday and will conclude in September, EFE news reported. The drill seeks to help reshape the army's training system and strengthen its capacity to operate throughout the country. As part of the reforms, the seven regional commands of the PLA in the country were dissolved and regrouped into five around the beginning of this year. Following the reshaping, one of the priorities of the drill will be evaluate the efficiency of the commanders to lead operations, quoted Wang Zhian, chief director for the manoeuvre, as saying. The randomly selected participating brigades will also switch roles of attack and defence, Wang added. These manoeuvres, initially scheduled for May but postponed to give more preparation time to the soldiers, begin at a moment of tension between China and its neighbours owing to territorial disputes in the South China Sea.