BEIJING: In a significant move, China’s president has linked improvement and development of military weapons with the “Chinese dream”. The statement comes amid an increasingly volatile situation with China demonstrating enhanced weapons making capabilities, and rival Japan moving towards militarization.
The official Xinhua news agency quoted Xi saying: “A strong and modern army equipment system plays an irreplaceable role for the full realization of the Chinese Dream”. The president also asked the People’s Liberation Army to “enhance political consciousness to seize the opportunity and ensure the rapid upgrading of equipment”.
“Military officers at all levels should play a leading role and use actual combat to guide soldiers to improve their capacity to operate weapons,” Xi said. It is not clear what Xi meant when he talked about “actual combat”, but he may be referring to repeated military exercises being conducted by the PLA with the military of different countries.
Xi, who also heads the central military commission, did not name any country for which weapons and military preparedness is necessary. China has territorial disputes with several countries including India, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Xi suggested that the present international situation offers a “strategic opportunity” for China’s military. “Equipment systems are now in a period of strategic opportunities and at a key point for rapid development,” Xinhua reported. The building of equipment systems should be information-led and pay great attention to weapon quality, Xi said.
Addressing a PLA conference on armament held from Wednesday to Thursday, Xi said advanced weaponry is the embodiment of a modern army and a crucial support for national security and rejuvenation. The PLA must understand and make plans for system building in the context of the changes in both international strategic structure and Chinese national security.
He said military equipment must be innovative, practical and forward-thinking to meet the demands of actual combat and fill in the weak spots of China’s existing equipment.
Xi, also chairman of the central military commission, said the PLA should put a human resource strategy first by opening minds and not following a set model to establish a highly competitive talent reserve.
China’s ambition for a strong military works as a guideline for the country’s defence and military equipment modernization, he said.