Chinese President Xi Jinping told his marine soldiers to focus their “minds and energy on preparing for war” during a visit to a military base, CNN reported.
Xi inspected a People’s Liberation Army marine corps base in Chaozhou Southern China on Tuesday and called on the soldiers to “maintain a state of high alert” and be “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable,” CNN reported, citing state-run news agency Xinhua.
Xi’s call for combat readiness comes as political tensions have escalated between China and self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing considers its own.
The Chinese leader’s visit to the military base also comes amid tensions between them and the U.S over the coronavirus pandemic, and trade issues.
CNN reported that that the White House notified US Congress Monday that it was planning to move ahead with the sale of three advanced weapon systems to Taiwan.
China insists self-governing Taiwan is part of its territory, and Xi hasn’t ruled out using force against the US ally.
In a stern response from Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called on the U.S to “immediately cancel any arms sales plans to Taiwan” and cut all “US-Taiwan military ties,” CNN reported
Chinese-Indian relations have also worsened recently over each other’s actions along the 3,488 kilometer (2,162 mile) Line of Actual Control. Both India and China have moved thousands of troops, tanks, artillery guns and fighter jets close to the disputed border since their standoff began in May.
President Xi delivered the speech while inspecting the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Marine Corps in Chaozhou of Guangdong province.
The Communist leader has been touring the southern Chinese region since Monday. He is taking part in celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen special economic zone, which was established in 1980 to attract foreign capital and played a vital role in helping China’s economy become the second-largest in the world.