Beijing : President Xi Jinping has again asked Chinese military to remain combat ready and enhance its capability to fight and win wars as he secured his third term as head of the party and the military. In his first address to the two million-strong military, the largest in the world, Xi said the world is undergoing more profound changes unseen in a century and stressed that China’s national security is facing increased instability and uncertainty, and its military tasks remain arduous.
Xi made the remarks in his first inspection trip to the joint operations command centre of the restructured Central Military Commission (CMC) on Tuesday after being reappointed as the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and the CMC Chairman, the top boss of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for an unprecedented third five-year term at the 20th party congress last month.
He also told officers at the command center to develop an organisation that was “absolutely loyal, good at planning wars, efficient in command, and dares to win”, state media reported. Holding the three powerful posts of the head of the party, the military, and the Presidency, Xi is the only leader after party founder Mao Zedong to continue in power for third term.
President Xi’s remarks came against the backdrop of growing international concern over China’s aggressive military manoeuvring in the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea. China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea. Chinese and Indian armies are also engaged in a prolonged standoff in eastern Ladakh.
Xi said the military leadership must focus on realising the PLA’s centennial goal – to make the PLA a world-class armed force by 2027, which is broadly interpreted as making it on par with the US armed forces. During his speech at the party congress last month, Xi also set a goal of “winning local wars” and told the PLA to “improve training and preparation for war in all aspects and improve the ability of the army to fight and win”.
“We will strengthen the normal and diversified use of military forces, carry out military struggles with determination and flexibility, shape the security posture, contain crises and conflicts, and win local wars,” he said. In his address to the CPC Congress last month, President Xi said China will establish a strong system of strategic deterrence, which was interpreted by observers as a call to increase China’s nuclear weapons.