China’s President Xi Jinping has continued to tell his armed forces that they should prepare for potential war amid heightened hostilities with America, particularly over the Taiwan issue.
Speaking to a room full of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) leaders and officers at the Jingxi Hotel in Beijing this past week, Xi hailed the “new era” of a highly modernized fighting force which has transformed the PLA into a world-class fighting force.
The address to the Central Military Commission featured him ordering all officers and soldiers to focus on preparing for war “under real combat conditions,” according to quotes in state Xinhua News Agency.
He further stressed that the national soldiers must not “fear hardship and do not fear death” while committing further to deepening training.
“Military training is the regular and central task of the army. It is the basic way to generate and improve combat effectiveness. It is the most direct preparation for military battles,” said Xinhua, citing the chairman.
Over the past month Xi has toured various military bases while urging war preparations and readiness. This also comes as naval and air forces step up drills off China’s coast, particularly near the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea.
Western analysts and media have tended to interpret this latest jingoistic rhetoric as something more than just the usual military orders of ‘readiness’ common to all national militaries:
Earlier this month, China‘s state broadcaster released footage of the country’s soldiers launching multiple missiles to take down enemy targets during a live-fire drill.
In a clip released by Beijing in September, nuclear-capable bombers are seen carrying out a simulated attack on what appears to be the US Andersen Air Force Base on the Pacific island of Guam.
China has been flexing its military muscles since tensions heightened between China and the United States over Taiwan.
The outgoing Trump administration has vowed to keep up its pressure on Beijing, the latest actions which has included sanctioning PLA-linked China-based companies, even down to the final weeks leading to Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
The PLA consists of some two million active troops with a half million in reserve.