China’s President Xi Jinping has ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to pay a special attention to the current situation in the region and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency.
“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said during an inspection tour made on October 25 as part of his visit to Guangdong province, according to state broadcaster CCTV. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly.”
Xi emphasized that the Southern Theatre Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years. He stated that the Chinese military has “to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen’s capabilities and preparation for war”.
One of the key missions of the Southern Theatre Command is overseeing the South China Sea, an area where tensions and military activity involving China, the US and other powers have been growing steadily.
Over the past year, the Chinese Navy and Air Force have been involved in multiple ecnounters with the US military in the region. While China claims a major part of the South China Sea as its territorial waters. The US administration challeges these claims sending multiple naval and air patrols in the area. Washington is also boosting its military presence in the region in order to deter the Chinese diplomatic and military expansion.