January 07, 2019 Sutirtho Patranobis – Hindustan Times
China’s armed forces should be ready for combat and be prepared for unexpected crisis and war, President Xi Jinping said on Friday in his first meeting with the military top brass in Beijing in 2019.
The massive and rapidly modernizing, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) should have enhanced awareness of danger, crisis and war, Xi told a meeting of the central military commission (CMC), the top military organization in the country of which he is the chairperson.
It is effectively being seen as Xi’s first order to the military in 2019 where he also signed a mobilization command for the training of the armed forces through the year.
Besides the festering land border problem with India, Xi’s command comes against the background of continuing maritime territorial disputes with multiple countries in the South China Sea and growing tension with the US over Beijing’s aim to reunify Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway nation.
Xi, in fact, said on Wednesday that China reserved the right to use force to achieve “reunification” with Taiwan, which is an independent and democratically-run country.
He brought up Taiwan days after US President Donald Trump signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law, reaffirming the US commitment to the island’s security.
“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,” Xi said.
“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,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official news agency, Xinhua, warning that various risks and challenges were on the rise.
The Chinese President stressed the armed forces’ ability to respond quickly and effectively to contingencies, asking them to upgrade commanding capability of joint operations, foster new combat forces, and improve military training under combat conditions.
China and India, in fact, had come close to a military clash in 2017 when border troops from the two countries had a 73-day standoff near the Sikkim border at Doklam.
Diplomatic negotiations finally separated the troops and defused the situation, which had threatened to trigger a border clash.
Interestingly, Chinese state media made an international splash this week by publicizing the testing of the “mother of all bombs” or MOAB, the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the PLA’s arsenal.
The new bomb’s destructive powers were publicized in a short video this week for the first time, the Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday on its mobile application.
The report said it is China’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb, and that the H-6K bomber could only carry one at a time due to its size.