Chinese President Xi to Chinese Army: Prepare for war as COVID-19 impacting our national security

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday directed China's Army to strengthen its training and prepare for war as coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on national security, the state media reported.

China has directed its armed forces to “comprehensively strengthen” the training of troops and and be prepared for a war amid the Coronavirus pandemic that has seemingly impacted its national security.

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the military to think about worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

According to a Hindustan Times report that quoted Chinese state media, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday directed its armed forces to “comprehensively strengthen the training of troops and prepare for war”, “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty” and “safeguard the overall strategic stability of the country”.

The Chinese President’s directive comes at a time when its relations with India have strained after tensions along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh flared up. The war cry also comes amid rising tensions with the US, belligerent speeches by Chinese politicians in reference with Taiwan, and renewed protests in Hong Kong.

The US-China military frictions were also on the rise with the US navy stepping its patrols in the disputed South China Sea as well as the Taiwan Straits. Washington and Beijing are also engaged in a war of words over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

The US-China relations further exacerbated after the US President Donald Trump and other politicians blamed China for the pandemic. Two days ago, Chinese diplomat Wang Yi hit back at the U.S. and warned that the US is pushing relations with China to “the brink of a new Cold War”.

The Chinese social media platforms, according to the report, are abuzz with “unverified” photos and video that show Beijing’s second aircraft carrier leaving its shipyard for a sail on Monday. With these photos and videos in circulation, the Chinese President’s belligerent speech at such a time raises worries and questions.

“The move, if verified, will mark the aircraft carrier, the Shandong’s first known voyage in five months since being commissioned in December and later returning to the shipyard for maintenance,” HT quoted Chinese state media as saying.

“Xi, who chairs China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), made the comments at a meeting of the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s parliament,” according to the HT report.

The Chinese premier was quoted as saying that it was necessary to make preparations for military struggle, “…to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to comprehensively improve our military’s ability to carry out military missions”.

On May 22, China, the second-largest military spender after the US, hiked its defence budget by 6.6 per cent to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India, the lowest increment in recent years amidst the massive disruption caused to the communist giant’s economy by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Xi has been stressing on the troops battle preparedness ever since he came to power in 2012 insisting on real time exercises to win wars.

He has also revamped defence forces, cutting the PLA’s strength by three lakh troops and enhanced its naval and air power as Beijing expanded its influence abroad.