Xi warns armed forces to prepare for ‘real combat’ – Chinese media – Reuters

The president tells troops at a naval base that their mission is to defend the country’s ‘territorial sovereignty’

President Xi Jinping has urged the Chinese military to prepare for a real fight, national media reported on Wednesday. The remarks came days after Beijing held massive military drills around Taiwan, which reportedly involved simulating precision strikes on the self-governing island.

Speaking to military personnel at a southern Chinese naval base on Tuesday, Xi called for strengthening “military training oriented towards real combat,” as quoted by the public broadcaster CCTV.

The Chinese leader is said to have named the defense of Beijing “territorial sovereignty and maritime interests» as well as the protection of «overall peripheral stabilityas the primary mission of the navy.

On Saturday, China kicked off three-day military drills codenamed “United Sharp Sword” in nearby Taiwan.

According to the Taipei military, it detected nine warships and some 71 warplanes in the area the following day.

Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, described the ships and planes as “encircling“Island. He clarified that the drills were meant to be a warning.”against the collision between separatist forces seeking “Taiwan independence” and outside forces, and against their provocative activities.

The military maneuvers came following a visit by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the United States last week, when she met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The meeting was the second time Tsai had sat down with a United States House speaker in less than a year. A visit by McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan in August infuriated Beijing, which responded with its largest-ever drills in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan has been de facto independent since 1949, when the losing side of the Chinese Civil War fled to the island and established its own administration. While only a handful of nations have recognized Taiwan as a sovereign state, the United States has long had close and unofficial ties with Taipei, both militarily and economically. Officially, Washington still claims to adhere to the “one China” principle.

Beijing considers the island an inalienable part of its territory that has been seized by separatists, and accuses the United States of meddling in its internal affairs and encouraging”secessionistThe politicians.

While Chinese leaders say they prioritize peaceful “reunification,” military options are not ruled out.

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