China's new leader Xi Jinping formally took over as the country's military chief, presiding over the first meeting of the powerful 11-member Military Commission, the highest body of the country's defence command structure.
Xi, 59, was chosen as the new general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China and also appointed as the chairman of the Military Commission on Thursday at the end of the 18th Party Congress.
The 11-member commission previously had both outgoing President Hu Jintao and Xi as chairman and vice chairman respectively.
Under the new set-up, Xi would be the lone civilian member, heading the commission while the rest of the 10 members were drawn from the army, navy and air force of the 2.3 million strong People's Liberation Army.
Observers say there was no likelihood of any civilian leader being inducted into the commission, unlike in the previous set-up, which makes Xi the most powerful Chinese leader in recent years as he holds the post of general secretary of the Party, chief of the military and will also take over as the president of the country.
He would take over as the president in March when Hu and the rest of his government formally relinquish their posts and hand over power to the new team headed by Xi.
The first meeting of the new military command that took place in Beijing on Saturday was also attended by Hu.
Both Hu and Xi urged the Chinese army under the CPC's command to be absolutely loyal and accomplish historic missions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Hu and Xi asked the military to make continuous efforts to advance army building and to fulfil the historic missions shouldered by the military.
Highlighting the election of new leaders by the Communist Party in its just concluded 18th Communist Party Congress, Hu said the leadership transition is conducive to the enduring peace and stability of the nation as well as the long-lasting development of the national defence and army building.
He said Xi is a competent general secretary of the Party and a competent chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission.
Xi has the necessary experience to work with the army as he was previously the vice chairman of the Commission.
The Party's decision to name Xi as the chairman of the Central Military Commission is very appropriate, 69-year-old Hu said.
"Comrade Xi Jinping can, for sure, shoulder great responsibilities of being the chairman of the Central Military Commission while uniting and leading the commission to fulfill the great historic missions," he said.