Curious and Curiouser

SCMP

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday ordered the People’s Liberation Army to prepare for combat and war as the country faces unprecedented risks and challenges.

Xi’s speech was made at a meeting of top officials from the Central Military Commission (CMC), which he heads, and broadcast later on national television.

“All military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle,” he said.

At the meeting, Xi also signed off on the first military command of 2019, which will kick-start a year of enhanced military training and exercises.

China’s armed forces must “prepare for a comprehensive military struggle from a new starting point”, he said. “Preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency.”

Earlier in the week, PLA Daily, the official newspaper of China’s military, said in an editorial that “there was no time for slacking in war preparation”.

Similarly, the CMC issued a series of guidelines to boost morale, saying military personnel would be promoted on the basis of merit, and promising greater leniency and understanding for mistakes made in training.

Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong said the recent “high-profile gestures” were probably intended as a warning to those who sought to obstruct the mainland’s plans for the reunification of Taiwan. “[They] show how seriously Xi is taking China’s military training and its preparations for war, while also flexing its strength,” he said.

While Xi spoke of his desire for a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, few experts expect Beijing to ease the military pressure on the island, which it regards as a breakaway province.

According to a report by state broadcaster CCTV, the military command signed by Xi prioritises enhanced training, with the focus on combat readiness, drills, troop inspections and resistance exercises.

It applies to all units of the PLA, including troops, academies and armed police, and is designed to “ensure new challenges are met and battles are won”, according to a copy of the guidelines seen during the television report.

Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel, said that as well as the rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei, Xi’s rallying call to the military was a response to the growing uncertainty over the geopolitical struggle between China and the United States.

“China is increasing its military training so that it has the best solutions for the worst outcomes, either related to the US or across the [Taiwan] strait,” he said.

As China tests military muscle, PLA warns Taiwan efforts to resist reunification with force are dead end. “Over the coming year, the US might use Taiwan and the South China Sea as bargaining chips to get what it wants from China with regards to the trade war,” he said

Hmmmm. Chinese admirals don’t make provocative statements on their own. Something new appears to be happening, and perhaps Taiwan (which we’ve only visited once BTW) is to become some sort of bargaining chip. Tip: for the next while, don’t buy an apartment in Taipei.

5 Responses to “Curious and Curiouser”

  1. feeblemind Says:

    Could be the saber rattling itself is a bargaining chip, the implication being that if trade negotiations don’t go China’s way, tensions ramp up in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

    The rhetoric also be the beginning of a campaign to distract the population from the grim economic news. Perhaps the Chinese leadership can find political cover for their economic failures by blaming the United States for their problems?

  2. feeblemind Says:

    The US and China are in a quantum arms race that will transform warfare

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612421/us-china-quantum-arms-race/

  3. feeblemind Says:

    The People China ‘Disappeared’ in 2018

    From a movie star to university students, no one is immune.

    https://thediplomat.com/2018/12/the-people-china-disappeared-in-2018/

  4. feeblemind Says:

    China’s demographics:

    China’s population is expected to fall back to 1.36 billion by the middle of the century, which could mean a decline in the workforce of as many as 200 million people.

    If fertility rates remain unchanged, the population could fall to 1.17 billion by 2065.

    China abolished its controversial “one-child policy” aimed at curbing population growth in 2016, instead allowing couples to have two children.

    However, the country’s birth rate still fell 3.5 per cent in 2017 and is expected to have fallen again last year.

    China’s “dependency rate”, or the proportion of non-working people, including children and the elderly, in the total population, rose for the first time in more than 30 years in 2011, and is widely predicted to increase further for at least the next few decades.

    The proportion of retirees is projected to rise until 2060, the CASS report said, and while the decision to relax “one-child” rules was designed to rebalance China’s age structure, in the short term it will also lead to a greater dependency rate.

    According to previous forecasts, China’s elderly population is expected to reach 400 million by the end of 2035, up from around 240 million last year.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-06/chinese-declining-population-going-into-overdrive/10687996

  5. feeblemind Says:

    Chinese Scientist Who Created CRISPR Babies Could Face the Death Penalty, Fellow Geneticist Warns

    When He Jiankui went missing back in early December, we suspected big trouble ahead for the rogue scientist, but as Sarah Knapton reports in the Telegraph, his predicament is even worse than we thought.

    https://gizmodo.com/chinese-scientist-who-created-crispr-babies-could-face-1831553751

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