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China’s Xi Jinping tells troops to focus on ‘preparing for war’

Marines of the People's Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) stand at attention as Commander, Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Gary Roughead greets them following a demonstration of the brigade's capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal J.J. Harper)
October 14, 2020

Chinese leader Xi Jinping called on Chinese troops to “put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war” during a visit to a military base in the southern province of Guangdong on Tuesday.

According to a translation of Xi’s remarks, reported by the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency, Xi told People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps troops stationed in Chaozhou City to “maintain a state of high alert.”The Chinese news agency also reported Xi called on the troops to increasingly train for actual combat capabilities.

“It is necessary to insist on leading training by combat, strengthening task traction, strengthening targeted and confrontational training, and beating hard and training the troops. It is necessary to promote innovations in combat theory, training models, and task organization to improve training levels and actual combat capabilities,” Xinhua wrote of Xi’s remarks.

Xi also reportedly called on the troops to be “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable.” He also called on the PLA’s Marine Corps to “cultivate a fighting spirit that is not afraid of hardship and death, and bring the troops to life.”

Xi’s remarks come amid increased tensions between the U.S. and China. China has increasingly sought to exercise control over the South China Sea and has made increased gestures against Taiwan. Chinese warplanes have flown over Taiwan’s airspace in recent weeks, including in September as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the highest-level US official to visit Taiwan in decades. China also planned amphibious landing drills near Taiwan-held territory over the summer.

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The U.S. and other nations over the summer rejected Chinese territorial claims to parts of the South China Sea. President Donald Trump is also reportedly set to approve the $2 billion sale of approximately 100 coastal defense cruise missiles to Taiwan, as a deterrent against China, the Washington Examiner reported.

The U.S. and 38 other countries signed onto a joint letter at the United Nations last week, raising concerns about human rights abuses in China, including in Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang.

China has warned Taiwan against strengthening its ties with the U.S. and Chinese military advertisements have increasingly alluded to a potential regional conflict. One recent Chinese military ad depicted a nuclear-capable Chinese H-6k bomber dropping a bomb on Andersen Air Force Base in the U.S. island territory of Guam.

According to CNN, the primary purpose of Xi’s visit to Guangdong was to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1980 opening of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, which was created to attract foreign investments in China. Xi made his remarks Tuesday during an inspection of the troops alongside the Chairman of the Central Military Commission.