Effectiveness of national defense system reforms tested by outbreak
President Xi Jinping urged the Chinese military on Tuesday to strive to overcome difficulties created by COVID-19 in order to realize this year’s goals and missions given by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, told national legislators from the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force that the novel coronavirus outbreak has had a profound effect on the world situation and China’s security and development. Therefore, he said, the Chinese military must stick to bottom-line thinking, comprehensively strengthen combat training, respond effectively and in a timely way to sophisticated scenarios and firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security, development interests and its strategic stability.
Xi instructed the military to explore methods of carrying out training operations and other tasks in the presence of regular anti-epidemic measures, arrange their schedules in accordance with changing situations, gear up combat preparation and conduct battle drills in a flexible manner. The armed forces must improve operational capability in each and every aspect, he said.
The president made the remarks as he met with the military delegation at the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, which opened in Beijing on Friday. There are 289 national legislators from the armed forces, forming the largest group of lawmakers in the 13th NPC.
Xi said that the ongoing fight against COVID-19 provides a practical examination of the effectiveness of reforms of the national defense system and the military, and also poses new challenge to such reforms.
The military should uphold the reforms’ direction, road maps and measures and should focus on optimizing its policy system so it can achieve the reforms’ objectives on time. It should also use reform-minded and innovative approaches to deal with problems exposed during epidemic control endeavors, he said.
The president told the military to utilize its advantages in medical research to speed up development of medicines and vaccines for COVID-19.
Scientific and technological innovation must be fostered and education and training of professionals must be boosted inside the military, he noted.
Xi spoke highly of the military’s anti-epidemic efforts, saying that service members have been playing leading roles and contributing a great deal to the battle. He said the armed forces have once again proved to be heroic and trustworthy.
Xi also ordered the military to produce sound plans for its development in the coming five years. It should make detailed and accurate calculations on how to spend the defense budget to make sure every expenditure is worth making.
Moreover, he requested that troops support economic and social development and offer assistance to poverty alleviation work. Central and local governments and Party organizations must also support the military and help to address service members’ problems, the president said.
Eight deputies from the armed forces shared their thoughts and suggestions on topics such as the military’s epidemic control measures, combat training and exercises, future development plans, and biological security capabilities.
Chinese government drops references to ‘peaceful’ reunification with Taiwan
In the government work report on Friday, Li Keqiang reiterated that Taiwan must resolutely oppose and contain the “Taiwan independence” separatist behavior, without mentioning the “one China” principle, “one country, two systems”, or “92 consensus”.
Last year’s work report particularly emphasized that the spirit of the important speech at the 40th-anniversary commemorative meeting of the “Report to the Compatriots in Taiwan” published by Jin Ping (President Xi) was fully implemented, and the principle of “one China” and the “92 consensuses” were adhered to. But this year ’s 96-character part regarding Taiwan, the sensitive “one country, two systems” and “one China” principles, and the “92 Consensus” that the other side regards as the cross-strait Dinghaishenzhen have not appeared in the report.
Instead, the report from Premier Li Keqiang took a different tone, saying: “We will adhere to the major principles and policies on work related to Taiwan and resolutely oppose and deter any separatist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence’.”
Although “peaceful reunification” has been the traditional expression of the Chinese Communist Party leaders for decades, the CCP has never ruled out the option of “liberating Taiwan by force”.
The cover picture of this article, “fantasizing” the take-over of Taiwan by the People’s Liberation Army, was created by some art students from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute.