The military cuts President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday will mainly target "troops equipped with outdated armaments, administrative staff and noncombatant personnel", Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said at a news conference. The decision to cut 300,000 troops will be the country's fourth such major reduction since the 1980s.
Since the 1980s, China has reduced the size of its military in three stages - by 1 million, 500,000 and 200,000 personnel. There are currently 2.3 million members. The reduction will be completed by the end of 2017 in order to optimize the structure of Chinese forces, Yang said.
Xi's announcement "fully demonstrates China's sincerity and hope in jointly championing peace, seeking development and enjoying prosperity with various countries in the world", Yang said. The decision also shows the country's "proactive, responsible attitude toward advancing international arms control and disarmament", the spokesman added.
Asked if the announcement signifies the start of a new round of national defense and military reform, Yang said China "will come up with some new reform measures and proactively and steadily press ahead with reform of national defense and the military".
Some countries and recent media reports have again raised questions over the size of the People's Liberation Army, the world's largest. Yang said that comments made about China's alleged threat "run counter to the facts and are irresponsible".