President Xi told generals of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that the two million soldiers under their command should train under real combat conditions. He told them “not to fear hardship” and “not to fear death” when he addressed the China Central Military Commission in Beijing.
Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said Xi’s speech was designed to push PLA commanders to step up combat training and familiarize military forces with new high-level weapons and equipment. technology, including tanks, airplanes and warships.
Mr. Zhoud told the South China Morning Post, “China faces a number of challenges both at home and abroad – for example, the situation in the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea. , the border with India.
“These situations have changed in recent years and senior Chinese commanders must develop forward-looking strategic training plans to ensure that troops are ready for battle. ”
Xi has overseen China’s multibillion-pound upgrade as he aims to stay ahead of superpower rivals Russia and the United States.
It has also sanctioned the militarization of the South China Sea as Beijing attempts to assert its might and influence over neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei.
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This has brought China into direct conflict with the United States, which fiercely opposes Beijing’s maritime ambitions and has vowed to defend Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies should they come under attack.
Earlier this week, the Philippines’ Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana warned that rising tensions between China and the United States could easily trigger an escalation of hostilities.
Lorenzana said the intense rivalry between Beijing and Washington was the main security problem in the volatile region, warned his country would bear the brunt of any armed conflict.
He told a Manila defense forum: “If a gun war ever occurs, the Philippines – who are in the midst of the conflict – will be involved whether they like it or not.
“This is the crux of the security challenge in the Indo-Pacific region, the imminent confrontation of the United States and its allies and China over the South China Sea. “
Former military leader Emmanuel Bautista has warned that China will “seize” the Philippines for strategic purposes if tensions between Beijing and Washington turn into a military conflict.
He told an online forum that the Philippines’ location makes it “key land” for the United States and China.
He said, “Assuming things get out of hand and end in a shooting war, China will take over the Philippines.
“If you want to influence the South China Sea, you have to control these choke points. “