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Xi Jinping tells Chinese military to boost troop training, war preparedness

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called on the Chinese military to “enhance troop training and combat preparedness” in his first visit to the military’s joint operations command headquarters in his third term.

“The entire military should devote all its energy to and carry out all its work for combat readiness, enhance its capability to fight and win, and effectively fulfil its missions and tasks in the new era,” said Mr. Xi, who in October began a third five-year term as leader of the Communist Party. Mr. Xi, at last month’s Party Congress in Beijing, was also appointed chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) for another term.

Mr. Xi on Nov. 8 made his first visit in the new term to the joint operations command centre of the CMC. He said the world was “undergoing more profound changes unseen in a century” and “stressed that China’s national security is facing increased instability and uncertainty, and its military tasks remain arduous”.

Mr. Xi “instructed [the military leadership] to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Accompanying Mr. Xi was the new CMC leadership, which saw a reshuffle at the congress, where three Generals who have occupied key roles leading the Army in the Western Theatre Command, which borders India, received significant promotions to the CMC and to the Party Central Committee.

General He Weidong (65) was named the new Vice-Chairman of the CMC. General Zhang Youxia (72), a close associate of Mr. Xi, was confirmed for another term as Vice-Chairman.

General He was one of three PLA Generals promoted who were actively involved in in the Western Theatre Command (WTC) which borders India.

General He served as the Army (ground forces) commander of the WTC from 2016 until 2019, a period spanning the 2017 Doklam crisis. He later headed the Eastern Theatre Command, which is responsible for Taiwan

Also promoted was General Xu Qiling (60), who has been appointed as one of 205 members of the Party’s new Central Committee. He succeeded General He as WTC Army Commander in 2020 and was subsequently moved to the CMC’s Joint Staff department. Current head of the WTC, General Wang Haijiang (59), was also appointed to the Central Committee.