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    President urges PLA to use nation’s expertise

    President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, greets National People’s Congress deputies from the PLA during the two sessions in Beijing on Sunday. Li Gang / Xinhua

    Military’s science and technology innovation and civilian integration stressed

    President Xi Jinping urged the Chinese military on Sunday to further boost integration with civilian sectors while highlighting scientific and technological innovation as the key to military upgrades.

    Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the People’s Liberation Army should take advantage of China’s achievements in science and technology to help modernize its weapons and equipment.

    He made the remarks while meeting military deputies to the 12th National People’s Congress who are now in Beijing attending the top legislature’s annual session.

    The president said that civilian and military technologies are increasingly connected. He asked the military to pay more attention to science and technology and to speed up civilian-defense integration.

    Xi told officers to look for, support and make full use of advanced technologies that can serve the military’s modernization and to assist the transfer of defense technologies to the business sector.

    Institutional barriers and special interest groups must be removed to pave the way for civilian-defense integration, he said.

    Xi also asked the military to improve its education and training systems so they can produce more professionals, adding that the PLA should also strengthen the teaching of science and technology among soldiers.

    Xi, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, has repeatedly stressed the significance of civilian-defense integration, which generally refers to the military transferring technologies to the civilian sectors, and including private companies into its suppliers’ list and military research and development.

    In late January, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee set up a Central Commission of Civilian-Military Integration with Xi as its head. It was the first time the top leadership had established a dedicated body on civilian-military integration.

    The PLA has created a website to publish its needs in technology, equipment and services, saying qualified private companies are welcome to offer their products and services. Many private firms have been given military contracts, the PLA Daily reported.

    The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which oversees China’s defense industries, has also pledged to gradually reduce restrictions on private businesses in the defense sector and to help State-owned defense contractors increase the use of parts made by private companies.