Xi Jinping Tells PLA to be Ready to Win Local Wars, Heightening Fears of China's Taiwan Invasion

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to get ready for war, raising concerns of a possibly Chinese military action in Taiwan. Xi, who amassed near total powers at the recently concluded China Communist Party Congress, said the country's national security is facing increased instability, underscoring the need for combat readiness.

Call to PLA

"We will strengthen the normal and diversified use of military forces, carry out military struggles with determination and flexibility, shape the security posture, contain crises and conflicts, and win local wars," he said after he inspected the joint operations command centre of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in Beijing.

Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday's event in Beijing was the first address Xi made to the Chinese military leadership after he was bestowed with a historic third term as President. China's military, which includes its million-strong military, is the largest in the world on many counts.

He told the PLA leadership to "improve training and preparation for war in all aspects and improve the ability of the army to fight and win".

Aggressive Posturing

Xi's aggressive posturing came a day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen highlighted the increasing threat of a Chinese invasion. On Monday she told The Atlantic in an interview that there is a 'genuine threat'of a Chinese invasion.

China Taiwan Spying case

Tsai, who hiked next year's dfense budget, also indirectly told Xi to desist from military adventurism. "If the [People's Liberation Army] wants to do something drastic, [Chinese President] Xi has to weigh the costs," Tsai said. Taiwan recently boosted defense spending by 13 percent in 2023 and committed to spend $19 billion on defense.

Self-ruled Taiwan is focused on remaining independent and democratic, even as China insists that the island is a rogue province that will be reunited to the mainland at any cost. President Xi has also insisted that Taiwan reunification is the testing stone of Chinese nationalism.

Taiwan president-elect Tsai Ing-wen
Democratic Progessive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen chants slogans during a rally outside the Presidential Office in Taipei August 30, 2008 Reuters

Xi's Taiwan Reunification Goal

He said last month in unequivocal terms that he would not renounce the use of force to annex Taiwan. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Party Congress in Beijing. Xi also vowed to build the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into a "world-class military".

"We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest of sincerity and the upmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary," Xi said IANS reported.