China has begun another large-scale military exercise presided over by President Xi Jinping, the state propaganda outlet Global Times revealed.
President Xi, who as well as being the leader of the Chinese Communist Party also serves as chairman of the Central Military Commission, reportedly ordered the exercises during a large Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) ceremony broadcast to 4,000 military units across the country.
At the ceremony, which took place at a military training base in Northern China with 7,000 PLA troops and 300 armed vehicles, Xi reportedly inspected his troops and ordered them to “strengthen combat readiness and put military training in a strategic position,” as well as their overall “capability to win.”
“This is the first time since the founding of the country that instructions on military training have been directly issued by the chairman of the CMC, and it shows that improving combat readiness is now a strategic mission for the Chinese military,” Xu Guangyu, a retired major general, told the Times.
“The core of improving combat readiness is to maintain and promote combat capability. China can’t copy the US’ measure to improve combat capability through actual combat overseas since our national defense policy is defensive rather than offensive,” he continued. “Therefore, military training becomes extremely important for China,”
The Global Times article also quotes the words of the Chinese military expert Song Zhongping, who claimed the ceremony “demonstrated the new norm of military training after the 19th CPC National Congress and it also reminds the military that the world is not peaceful and crisis awareness for the military needs to be increased.”
China has conducted a number of military exercises over the past year, which include exercises on the Korean Peninsula as well as drills in and around Taiwan, increasing fears that they are planning to colonize the self-ruled island by force.
Speaking at China’s 19th Communist Party Congress in October, Xi vowed to invest heavily in the nation’s armed forces through the next several decades. The People’s Liberation Army, he promised, would reach full modernization capacity in 2035 and become a “world-class military by 2050 that can fight and win wars across all theaters.”
Some of his military reforms have included the restructuring of managerial authority across the PLA, as well as retiring a number long-serving generals and replacing them with younger officers more supportive of his leadership. Some analysts see his control of the military as even tighter than that of former dictator Mao Zedong.