BEIJING - China's People's Liberation Army will hold a big training drill later this year to hone the modernizing force's skills in complex, high-tech warfare, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

The exercise will involve 50,000 troops from four divisions across four of China's seven military command regions, Xinhua reported, citing the PLA General Staff Headquarters. It will include infantry forces as well as paratroopers and aircraft.

The drill will mark another step in China's efforts to remake its military as a modern force, capable of complex and far-reaching missions, Xinhua said.

China showed its growing confidence as a military power during a naval parade last month that featured two of its nuclear submarines.

A PLA parade in Beijing on October 1 to mark the founding of the People's Republic of China will also underscore that confidence.

While the global economic crisis has forced many nations to rethink military spending plans, Beijing plans to spend more on its military. In March, the government said the official military budget would grow to 480.7 billion yuan ($70 billion) in 2009, a 14.9 percent rise on last year.

For decades, the focus of PLA planning has been seeking to prevent a possible bid for full independence by Taiwan, the self-governed island divided from the mainland since 1949.

But in recent years, Chinese military horizons have expanded with the country's economic reach, and its navy has been helping with anti-piracy patrols off the east African coast.