China must strengthen its armed forces and prepare for battle amid ongoing tensions with the US and Taiwan, China’s President has said.
By Emily Ferguson
President Xi Jinping told a meeting of top brass China’s armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do everything they can to prepare for battle. The news comes amidst escalating tensions between China and the US as well as American-backed Taiwan, with disputes between the two superpowers ranging from trade to the status of the island. Mr Jinping told a meeting of the top military authority that China faced increasing risks and challenges, and the armed forces must work to secure its security and development needs, reports the official Xinhua news agency.
Mr Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the armed forces must devise strategies for the new era and take on responsibilities for preparing and waging war.
He is quoted as saying: ”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.”
He said the armed forces needed to be able to respond quickly to emergencies, to upgrade their joint operations capabilities and nurture new types of combat forces.
Mr Jinping’s comments followed his remarks on Wednesday that China still reserved the right to use force to achieve “reunification” with Taiwan and prevent the island’s independence.
Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, has called for international support to defend the self-ruled island’s democracy and way of life in the face of renewed threats from China.
Mr Ing-wen told reporters in Taipei yesterday: “We hope that the international community takes it seriously and can voice support and help us.”
On Wednesday he said the island would not accept a “one country, two systems” political arrangement with China, while stressing all cross-strait negotiations needed to be on a government-to-government basis.
China sees the island of Taiwan as a breakaway province that will be reunited with the mainland, but many in Taiwan are pushing to remain independent.
Taiwan unveiled a supersonic cruise missile yesterday, as the Taiwanese navy posted the video to its Facebook account.
The anti-ship missile, Hsuing Feng-3, has a range of anywhere from 18 miles (30 kilometres) to 248miles (400km), Asia Times notes.
Dr Graham Ong-Webb from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies told Euronews that armed conflict between China and Taiwan is looking increasingly unlikely – and that US-backed Taiwan is militarily outmatched by its rival.
He said: “The context in which this is occurring has changed.