Xi Jinping says military must prepare for war 'at any time'

A departure from previous years' orders.

Kayla Wong | January 06, 2021, 01:12 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the military on Monday, Jan. 4 to be prepared for war "at any time".

First order to the military of the year

Official state-run media Xinhua reported that Xi, who is also the chairman of the Central Military Commission, instructed the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to strengthen their training further to hone its operational capability and combat preparedness.

They were told to follow the Xin Jinping Thought on Socialism with Characteristics for a New Era, a set of Xi's policies and ideals, as their guiding principle as well.

It was the first order of the year to the armed forces, as they embarked on the first military exercises of 2021.

Since Jan. 3, 2018, when Xi ordered the PLA to strengthen its military training and raise its combat capability, he has been giving such orders on the first working day after the New Year holiday, Lianhe Zaobao reported.

2021's orders a departure from before

Citing a source in Beijing supposedly close to the Chinese military personnel, Zaobao further said while such orders typically include instructions to raise the forces' combat capability, they could change depending on the particular year's circumstance too.

For instance, this year's opening order differs from previous years' orders in that the armed forces were told to strengthen real life combat training, as well as "frontline" military training.

In other words, they were requested to prepare themselves for war at any moment.

This was a shift from 2020, when Xi's order to the PLA was to remain highly alert and deter war from happening.

The change is largely due to the need to curb any possible moves from Taiwan to declare independence, the source added.

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Top image by STR/AFP via Getty Images