China has created five new military regions covering the country as part of a continuing drive to reorganize and streamline the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army.

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 while further indicating President Xi Jinping's firm hold over the armed forces.

Xi presided at a ceremony Monday establishing the new regions 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.

China also plans to cut 300,000 personnel from the PLA's ranks.