China conducted new naval exercises on Wednesday, a report quoting maritime officials said, amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea and as President Xi Jinping urged the military to “focus on war preparedness and combat capabilities”.
The state-owned Global Times quoted the country’s maritime safety agency as saying that drills were taking place in the Bohai Sea in China’s northeast from 6am to 5pm
Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed troops to “put their minds and energy on preparing for war”, while on visit to military base in the southern province of Guangdong according to news agency Xinhua.
During an inspection of the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps in Chaozhou City, Xinhua said Xi told the soldiers to “maintain a state of high alert” and called on them to be “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable”, reported CNN.
Xi’s visit to Guangdong was to deliver a speech to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, which played a vital role in helping China’s economy become the second-largest in the world.
This military visit came amid heightened tensions between China and United States, with issues pertaining to disagreements over Taiwan and the COVID-19 pandemic.
White House had earlier notified US Congress on Monday that it was planning to move ahead with the sale of three advanced weapon systems to Taiwan, including the advanced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had called on Washington to “immediately cancel any arms sales plans to Taiwan” and cut all “US-Taiwan military ties.”
Taiwan has never been ruled by China’s ruling party, Chinese authorities insist that the self-governing island is an integral part of their territory, with Jinping refusing to rule out military
force to capture it if necessary.
China has increased military drills around Taiwan, with almost 40 Chinese warplanes crossing the median line between the mainland and Taiwan on September 18-19 — one of several sorties the island’s
President Tsai Ing-wen called a “threat of force.”