Xi orders Chinese Army to be battle-ready

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the country’s Army to focus on improving its combat ability and to make sure it is always prepared for battle, the state-owned China Daily newspaper reported on Saturday.

Xi delivered an address on Friday to the Central Military Commission — under his control — and urged the troops to boost strategic and tactical planning as well as improve their joint operational capability and readiness to respond to emergencies, Efe news reported citing the newspaper.

The President’s comments came only two days after he refused to rule out use of force against what he termed as foreign interventions and separatists in Taiwan, to ensure an eventual reunification with the island, which Beijing considers a rebel province.

He told his soldiers to grasp major trends in national security and development, to strengthen awareness of crisis and combat and to make preparations for military operations.

Xi also signed his first military order of 2019, giving priority to improving training, with special focus on preparing for combat, drills, inspection of troops and endurance exercises, according to state television CCTV.

This week, the official newspaper of the armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army Daily, published an editorial saying there was no time to lose in preparation for war.

Xi, in an address earlier this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the issuing of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” — which seeks peaceful reunification (of Taiwan) under the principle of “one country, two systems” — said that while peaceful means would be his preferred option, the island must and will be reunified with the mainland.

Taiwan has urged China to recognize that it has been a separate political entity since 1949.

Recently, the Taiwanese Navy also posted a video on its official Facebook page showing advances in testing its new supersonic missiles, with the ability to reach targets in China.