Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping gave a speech last week to leaders and officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at a hotel in Beijing, where he reminded members of the armed forces to prepare for a possible war amid growing tension with the United States and Taiwan.
During his words, Xi praised the “new era” of the army, referring to a supposedly renewed and developed army in technology and armaments. At the same time, he recommended that his soldiers train harder and “not be afraid of hardship and death, and concentrate on getting into real combat conditions,” according to Newsweek.
“Military training is the regular and central task of the army. It is the basic way to generate and improve combat effectiveness. It is the most direct preparation for military battles,” said Xinhua the CCP’s news agency, citing Xi.
Over the past month, Xi has toured several military bases and has repeatedly referred to preparations and training for war. This came at the same time as naval and air forces are intensifying drills off the coast of China, particularly near the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea.
These latter attitudes developed by the CCP were interpreted by various international experts in the field as more than the usual military exercises and there is concern about a possible real confrontation, considering the number of fronts of tension maintained by the Chinese army across the globe.
The PLA air force continues to fly fighter jets in the vicinity of Taiwan at the same time as its navy sails toward the South China Sea.
This month, two major navy exercises are taking place in the Taiwan Strait, with the state media describing the live-fire landing drills as a strong message directly to Taipei, whose current government is considered to be “secessionist.”
On its southwestern border, the CCP has yet to break free from a military stalemate with India that is approaching its eighth month. After a series of violent clashes along the Royal Line of Control in Ladakh during the summer, which resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of Chinese troops.
New Delhi and the CCP have scheduled a ninth round of high-level military talks aimed at reducing tension in the Himalayas, but there is no sign of either side backing down.
Taiwan, a special case that disturbs the CCP
The situation with Taiwan is one of the critical points that also concerns the United States and is added tension with the CCP. After the CCP took control of Hong Kong, many wondered if the democratic island would be its next victim.
When the CCP took power by force in China in 1949, the nationalist government and army, led by President Chiang Kai-shek, withdrew to Taiwan where they sought refuge. Since then, the island has maintained its autonomy and independence, which has allowed it to achieve outstanding economic progress and a healthy democratic system, in contrast to mainland China.
“Beijing cannot win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese,” said Michael Cole, a senior researcher based in Taipei at the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington, according to Fox News.
That’s why, according to Cole, the CCP has chosen to develop a “punitive” strategy: increased military coercion, efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally, and various attempts to undermine the effectiveness of the island’s democratic institutions. This, in turn, brought it into conflict with the United States and President Trump chose to defend Taiwan’s autonomy and democratic freedom over the CCP’s abuses.
After CCP authorities imposed the new national security law in Hong Kong in June of this year, many opposition activists and politicians fled to Taiwan, putting even more pressure on the island from the CCP.
Taiwan was declared a “special autonomous zone,” which meant that the CCP would have to “use military force to dominate Taiwan.”
Listening to the words of the communist leader Xi during his speech to military leaders, it is impossible not to imagine an unfortunate situation of real confrontation in Taiwan or some other neighboring country of the CCP.