China’s President Xi Jinping has called on the country’s military — the largest and among the most disciplined in the world — to be prepared for war at all times.
On an inspection at the Central Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in northern Hebei Province on Wednesday, President Xi told the country’s military forces to “neither fear hardship nor death.”
As head of the ruling Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, Xi is commander-in-chief of China’s more than two-million-strong armed forces, which is the largest standing military force in the world.
During his visit to the military command, Xi was seen in military attire inspecting troops, tanks, sniper training, and peering down the sights of an automatic rifle.
Be “always ready for the fight, capable of combat and sure to win,” he was quoted as saying by Chinese media on Thursday.
He also reportedly paid a visit to an exhibit detailing the PLA’s history battling US-led forces during the Korean War.
Since assuming office in 2012, Xi has aimed to modernize the Chinese military even as the country has adopted a policy of a peaceful rise to power.
In October last year, the Chinese president urged a “world-class” Chinese military by 2050 and called for the upgrading of its arsenal with increasing sophisticated weaponry.
China has been involved in a territorial dispute with a number of other countries, including over the resource-rich East and South China Seas.