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Aero India 2023

Xi asks military to resolutely defend China's sovereignty and maritime rights

BEIJING (PTI):  President Xi Jinping on Wednesday asked the military to resolutely defend China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and strive to maintain the overall stability of the neighbouring regions, amid rising tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Xi, who is also the chairman of the Central Military Commission - the high command of the Chinese military, inspected the troops at the Southern Theatre Command, stressed strengthening training and combat readiness and accelerating transformation to boost the armed forces' modernisation levels on all fronts.

He called on the armed forces to resolutely fulfill the duties entrusted by the ruling Communist Party and the people.

At the Navy headquarters of the Southern Theatre Command, Xi said the armed forces should analyse and address military issues from a political perspective, carry out military struggles in a resolute and flexible manner, and enhance the ability to ensure timely and proper responses to complex situations.

His comments came as China faced increasing tensions with the US over Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea.

China on Monday said it has successfully completed its three-day large-scale fire and fury military drills "encircling" Taiwan, including the use of an aircraft carrier, aimed at showing its anger over the US House Speaker's meeting with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.

Also China braced for tensions in the South China Sea as the US secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines - a key bit of real estate which would offer a front row seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

Also, more than 17,000 Philippine and US troops on Tuesday kicked off the most extensive joint military activities in decades in the Philippines.

According to the Philippine military, the 18-day yearly exercise dubbed Balikatan involves 5,400 Philippine and 12,200 US troops, making it the largest iteration of the Philippines-US joint drills conducted in decades.

About 100 members of the Australian armed forces joined in the exercises, while a dozen countries, including Japan and Britain, are participating as observers.

In his speech, Xi ordered the armed forces to strengthen training under combat conditions, innovate the concepts of combat and the methods of combat and training, and intensify force-on-force training based on operational plans.

They should develop new types of combat forces and means and accelerate the efforts to incorporate new equipment and new forces into actual combat capacity, he said.

Xi stressed the importance of strengthening the Party's leadership over the armed forces and urged relentless efforts to exercise full and rigorous Party self-governance in the military and govern the military with strict discipline in every aspect.

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