Chinese President Xi Jinping presided Monday over the creation of five new military regions, part of the streamlining of the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army while also signaling his firm control over the armed forces.
The north, south, east, west and central regions replace the seven previous regions. The new districts are being touted as better suited to command joint operations.
Xi presided at a ceremony at the Defense Ministry in his capacity as head of the Communist Party and government commissions overseeing the military. Wearing a high-collared olive green jacket, he presented PLA flags to each of the new region's commanders and political commissars.