Xi Jinping has told his country’s military to “focus all its energy on fighting” in preparation for war, raising fears that China is planning a long-expected attack on Taiwan.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that Beijing is planning to strengthen its military capability, with Xi having already warned of “dangerous storms” to come at the recent Chinese Communist Party (CCP) congress.
The comments heighten fears of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which the CCP claims as part of its territory.
Xi said the army must “comprehensively strengthen military training in preparation for war”, a clear escalation from previous comments suggesting Chinese military activities were defensive in nature.
“Focus all energy on fighting, work hard on fighting and improve your capability to win,” CCTV quoted the leader as saying. Xi also called on the army to “resolutely defend national sovereignty and national security”, saying that China was in an “unstable and uncertain” security situation.
Xi has previously ordered the military to prepare for war on two occasions, shortly after taking power in 2013 and again in 2017. Political analysts believe the threat to be more serious on this occasion though, with significantly more aggressive rhetoric also being matched by Chinese military expansion.
The threat of an attack on Taiwan may hinge on how events play out in Ukraine. Experts believe that military success for Vladimir Putin without any serious consequences could embolden China to make their move. Conversely, should Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine fail or prove politically costly it may discourage China from taking similar action.
Tensions surrounding Taiwan were exacerbated earlier this year when US Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid an official visit to the island, angering Beijing. China in response launched a six-day military drill to coincide with Pelosi’s visit, firing ballistic missiles into Taiwanese waters.