President Xi Jinping of China started his New Year with a bang when he instructed the People’s Liberation Army to prepare for battle as the nation faces unprecedented risks and challenges.
At a meeting with top officials, Xi was quoted as saying:
“The entire armed forces should have a correct understanding of China’s security and development trends, enhance their awareness of danger, crisis and war, and make solid efforts on combat preparations in order to accomplish the tasks assigned by the Party (the ruling Communist Party of China) and the people.”
President Xi, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), said it is necessary for the army to devise strategies for the new era and take on responsibilities for preparing and waging war.
“The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development.”
According to China’s “President-for-Life”, China’s armed forces must be prepared for a “comprehensive military struggle from a new starting point”.
“Preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency.”
China is determined to fortify its military forces over escalating tensions with United Sates on territorial disputes at South China Sea and regional security of Taiwan.
President Xi held the meeting after U.S President Donald Trump signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law, reaffirming the U.S’s commitment to the island’s security.
Mr. Xi stressed that nobody could alter the fact that Taiwan was part of China and demanded that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait pursue “reunification”.
He added that he is prepared to use force in order to unify China and Taiwan. However, President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan vowed on Saturday to uphold the self-ruled island’s democracy and way of life.
She said the island would not give in to the “one country, two systems” political arrangement with China, while stressing all cross-Strait negotiations needed to be carried out on a government-to-government basis.
The question is the rhetoric really about the use of war as a means to uphold “One Silk Road” and Chinese sovereignty?
Or is it simply a smokescreen to draw attention to what is really happening back home? An economy that is on a downward spiral, a casualty of another war – the trade war with the United States.