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Xi Wants World Class Army Loyal to Ruling Party
Xi Wants World Class Army Loyal to Ruling Party

Xi Wants World Class Army Loyal to Ruling Party

Xi says the world is not all at peace. Peace, he adds, must be safeguarded and China’s military should march to wherever the ruling communist Party is pointing

Xi Wants World Class Army Loyal to Ruling Party

Chinese President Xi Jinping touted the need to build a "world-class" army capable of "defeating all invading enemies" at a military parade held Sunday to mark the 90th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army.
Since coming to power in 2012, the president has trumpeted building a stronger, combat-ready army, while leading efforts to centralize the ruling Communist Party's control over the PLA, the world's largest standing military, AFP reported.
Sunday's procession —including 12,000 service personnel and about 700 aircrafts and pieces of ground equipment— marked the first time Xi has observed a parade of this size staged in the field, according to the ministry of defense.
Tanks, vehicle-mounted nuclear-capable missiles and other equipment rolled by, as military aircraft flew above, including H-6K bombers, which have been patrolling near Taiwan and Japan recently, the J-15 carrier-based fighters and new generation J-20 stealth fighter.
"Today, we are closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than any other time in history, and we need to build a strong people's military more than any other time in history," Xi told the assembled troops in a short speech that did not yield any new policy announcements.
"Always listen to and follow the party's orders, and march to wherever the party points," he said.
"The world is not all at peace. Peace must be safeguarded," Xi, wearing a camouflage military suit, said in a speech at the expansive Zhurihe training base in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous region.
Xi also ordered the PLA to "unswervingly stick to... the Party's absolute leadership," saying the military should "march to wherever the party is pointing."
Defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said in a statement that the parade was intended to create a "good atmosphere" ahead of an important party congress later this year when Xi is expected to further consolidate his grip on power.
The president stood inside an open-top jeep that drove past lines of troops for his inspection.
"Comrades, thanks for your hard work," he said, to which the troops responded: "Serve the people!"
China said in March it would raise its defense spending by around seven percent this year, the slowest annual percentage increase since 1991.
Beijing is engaged in a decades-long build-up and modernization of its once-backward armed forces, as it seeks military clout commensurate with its economic might and increasingly asserts its disputed territorial claims in Asian waters.
The country's military is more nimble and technologically proficient following reforms to make it more compact and responsive, and less reliant on its sheer troop numbers, Xi said last week.
China has not fought a war in decades and the government insists it has no hostile intent, but simply needs the ability to properly defend what is now the world's second-largest economy.

However, China has rattled nerves around Asia and globally with its increasingly assertive stance in the East and South China Seas and its military modernization plan.
Some of the military reforms have also been controversial at home. Sources with ties to the military say Xi's announcement at the 2015 parade to cut 300,000 troops has caused unease within the ranks.
INTRO: Xi says the world is not all at peace. Peace, he adds, must be safeguarded and China’s military should march to wherever the ruling communist Party is pointing

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