China’s military has set up a new logistics support force as part of efforts to reform and modernize the world’s largest armed forces, state media has reported.

President Xi Jinping’s push to reform the military coincides with China becoming more assertive in its territorial disputes with Asian neighbors in the East and South China Seas.

China’s navy is investing in submarines and aircraft carriers and its air force is developing stealth fighters.

In January, China created three new military units, including a missile force that controls its nuclear deterrent.

The new joint logistics force would better support military operations, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Tuesday.

The move “is a strategic decision by the Communist Party’s Central Committee and Central Military Commission to comprehensively deepen national defense and military reform”, Xinhua cited Xi as telling a ceremony in Beijing.

“It is of far-reaching significance to establishing a modern joint logistics support force with Chinese characteristics and building a world-leading military,” he said.

Support centers for the new unit would be established in five Chinese cities, Xinhua said, including Shenyang in the northeast, close to the sensitive North Korean border.