Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the country’s military to make sure it’s ready to respond to security threats arising from a new era of global turbulence. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) must train harder to be ready for a fight, he said.
The world is currently undergoing changes “unseen in a century,” which increase instability and uncertainty, as well as affecting national security, the Chinese president warned on Tuesday, as quoted by the national media.
The entire military “must implement the [Communist] Party’s idea of strengthening the army in the new era” by focusing its energy on improving its war-fighting skills and capabilities, Xi said. The PLA must “resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and development interests,” he added.
The instructions issued by the Chinese leader were based on decisions taken last month during the Congress of the Communist Party of China, he explained. The gathering saw a reshuffle of the party’s senior leadership. Xi was approved for an almost unprecedented third five-year term at the helm of the party, and by extension the country.
During his report to the party delegates, Xi highlighted the risk of an armed conflict over Taiwan, a self-governed Chinese island. He reiterated that Beijing’s primary goal was peaceful reunification, but warned that Beijing reserved the right to use military force to prevent possible attempts by the Taiwanese administration to declare independence.
The Taiwan issue is one of the flashpoints of ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing. US President Joe Biden broke a long-held tradition of strategic ambiguity by pledging to use American troops in defense of Taiwan in the event of a PLA attack.
US officials have increasingly been treating the island as a sovereign nation, which Beijing calls a direct threat to the “One China” policy, which Washington formally recognizes.
The Biden administration ramped up deliveries of arms to Taiwan and is otherwise seeking to bolster the US presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which it claims to be necessary to counter malign Chinese influence.
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