During his first official address of the new year to the nation’s military forces, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday ordered the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the country’s armed forces, to prepare for battle.
“All military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle,” Xi said on state-owned Chinese television.
In addition, the leader approved the first military command of 2019, involving more complex training and exercises, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
China’s armed forces must “prepare for a comprehensive military struggle from a new starting point,” Xi said, adding that “preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency.”
Following the ascension of Xi to the presidency of the Central Military Commission (CMC), a national defense organization of the Communist Party of China, he has consistently urged the PLA to enhance combat readiness.
Earlier this week, the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, noted in an article that “there was no time for slacking in war preparation,” leading Beijing watchers to note the leader’s more strident rhetorical tone.
According to Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong, Xi’s “high-profile gestures” may be intended to serve as warnings to Taiwan.
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