Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday ordered the armed forces to strengthen training under real combat conditions and raise their capability of winning wars as the ruling Communist Party laid out plans to make the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on par with the US military by 2027.
After stressing recently that the PLA must apply cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence if it wants to transform itself into a modern fighting force on a par with those of other leading powers, Xi said the military must focus on training to win wars.
Xi, 67, who besides heading the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Presidency with prospects of life-long tenure in power, is also the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) which is the overall high command for the country’s two million-strong military.
Speaking at the CMC meeting, Xi stressed the implementation of the party’s thinking on strengthening the military, as well as the military strategy, for the new era, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
He called for the faster establishment of a new-type military training system and strong support for achieving the party’s goal of building stronger armed forces for the new era and developing the armed forces into a world-class military.
His comments came in the backdrop of the India-China border standoff at eastern Ladakh for over six months. The Chinese military is also flexing its muscles over Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea.
Xi said that military training is the center of the military’s regular work as it is the means for the forces to generate and improve its combat capability and is the most direct form of military preparedness. China this year approved a defense budget of about USD 179 billion, which is the second-highest after the United States defense spending of USD 732 billion.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s military expenditure figures, China’s defense spending in 2019 amounted to USD 232 billion. The recent key conclave of the CPC has finalized plans to build a fully modern military on par with the US by 2027.
In his speech, Xi noted that new changes are taking place in the country’s security environment, military combat situation, forms of modern warfare, bringing the military’s training into a new stage. He called for better strategic planning and top-level design to transform military training to accommodate the needs in real combat.
He urged efforts to improve the military’s capability for integrated and joint operations, raise the scientific and technological literacy of the officers and soldiers, and apply new weaponry and new strengths in training. Stressing strengthening the ruling party’s leadership over military training, Xi urged efforts to carry out real combat-oriented training and rectify the practices of formalities for formalities’ sake and bureaucratism in training.