Xi Jinping calls for ‘faster raising’ of armed forces – Times of India

BEIJING: Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called for “raising the armed forces to world-class standards more quickly,” in a speech just days after a top diplomat warned of the growing possibility of conflict with the US unless Washington changes course.
China must maximize its “national strategic capabilities” in an effort to “systematically improve the country’s overall strength to meet strategic risks, protect strategic interests and achieve strategic objectives,” Xi said on Wednesday.
His remarks to deputies in the Ceremonial Parliament representing the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party and the paramilitary Armed People’s Policewere carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Xi issued a series of calls to accelerate the building of self-reliance in science and technology, strengthen strategic emergency capabilities, make industrial and supply chains more resilient and make national reserves “better able to ensure national security”.
The program drawn up by Xi ties into a number of national strategies already underway, including the “Made in China 2025” campaign to make China dominant in 10 key areas, from integrated circuits to aerospace, and a decades-old campaign for civil and military integration into the economy.
Xi also mentioned the need to “achieve the goals for the centenary of the PLA in 2027,” a date when, according to some American observers, China intends to militarily conquer self-governing Taiwan, a US ally. resources.
China has defined its centenary goals in mostly vague terms, such as more “computerization” and raising the PLA to “world-class standards”.
China should “build a strong system of strategic deterrent forces, strengthen the presence of forces in new domains and capabilities, and thoroughly promote combat-oriented military training,” Xi said in a speech last year.
Tuesday Foreign Minister Qin gang had warned in unusually strong terms of the possibility that frictions between the US and China could lead to something worse.
“If the United States does not apply the brakes, but continues to go down the wrong path, no guardrail can prevent derailments, and conflicts and confrontations are sure to arise,” Qin said at his first press conference since he last took up his post. year.
“Such competition is a reckless gamble, with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity at stake,” he added.
That mirrored Xi’s comments to delegates on Monday that seemed to underscore Chinese frustration with US restrictions on access to technology and their support for Taiwan and regional military blocs in unusually blunt terms.
“Western countries under the leadership of the United States have implemented a comprehensive containment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has presented unprecedented challenges to our country’s development,” Xi told the official Xinhua News Agency.
A spokesman for the State Department, Ned Price, responded by saying Washington wants to “coexist responsibly” within the global trade and political system and has no intention of suppressing China.
“This is not about containing China. This is not about suppressing China. It’s not about holding China back,” Price said in Washington. “We want to have that constructive competition that’s fair” and “don’t get into that conflict.”
Meanwhile, General Laura J. Richardson, commander of the US Southern Command, which is responsible for South America and the Caribbean, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that China and Russia were “evil actors” who “aggressively exert influence over our democratic neighbours.”
China is “spreading its malign influence, exercising its economic power and engaging in gray zone activities to expand its military and political access and influence,” Richardson said.
“This is a strategic risk that we cannot accept or ignore,” she added.
Among other things, China has built a massive embassy in the Bahamas, just 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of Florida.
“Presence and proximity absolutely matter, and a stable and secure Western Hemisphere is critical to homeland defense,” Richardson said.

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