China’s Xi moves to take more direct command over military

BEIJING (AP) — Bolstering his status as China’s most powerful leader in decades, Chinese President Xi Jinping has assumed a more direct role as head of the country’s powerful armed forces with the new title of commander in chief of its Joint Operations Command Center, state media and analysts said Thursday.

Xi’s new position was revealed in news reports that featured prominently on national news broadcasts Wednesday and Thursday in which he appeared publicly for the first time in camouflage battle dress wearing the joint center’s insignia.

During his Wednesday visit, Xi called on the center’s staff to “closely follow the trends of global military revolution and strive to build a joint battle command system that meets the need of fighting and winning an informationized war,” the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Officers should “change their ideas, innovate and tackle difficulties, in a bid to build a joint battle command system that was absolutely loyal, resourceful in fighting, efficient in commanding and courageous and capable of winning wars,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

Battle command capacities should be measured by “the standards of being able to fight and win wars,” Xi said, stressing the need to prepare for conflicts, analyze possible security risks, and handle effectively “all sorts of emergencies.”

The joint center, reportedly located underground in the western outskirts of Beijing, is under the direct supervision of the ruling Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, which is headed by Xi and oversees the 2.3-million-member People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest standing armed forces.

Among his several other titles, Xi is also leader of the ruling Communist Party and chair of a recently created National Security Council, which gives him greater control over the domestic security services.

Xi’s appearance in battle dress with insignia Wednesday emphasized his more direct role in military affairs. When appearing simply as head of the Central Military Commission he routinely wears olive green tunics, shirts and trousers without insignia or decoration, as did his predecessors.

“Throughout Chinese history, political power has always been founded on control of the military,” Chang said. “This was a visit to show off his muscle to his potential enemies and show that he is tough and in charge.”

Xi has remained resolute in that approach despite it being blamed for raising tensions with China’s Southeast Asian neighbors and prompting the U.S. to devote more resources to Asia and strengthen its cooperation with traditional allies and even former foe Vietnam.

“The most important message he meant to send to the world is that he will not make a concession on the issue of territory even at the cost of a war,” Ni said.

Full article: China’s Xi moves to take more direct command over military (Yahoo!)

Comments are closed.