Some things get lost in translation but “preparing for war” is very clear and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered his elite troops to do as much during a Tuesday military base visit. On Wednesday, CNN translated a report from Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, quoted Jinping directing the troops to focus their “minds and energy on preparing for war.”
Jinping was inspecting the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps base in Chaozhou, Guangdong, when multiple news agency translations report him saying, “The Marine Corps should focus on preparing for war and combat capabilities, and maintain a high level of readiness.”
This news comes as tensions increase between the U.S. and China over the coronavirus pandemic, trade issues and a CNN report on Monday that the White House approved Congress to proceed with the sale of three advanced weapon systems to Taiwan. U.S.-Taiwan relations have improved but China objects to the transaction and considers self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory.
The Chinese navy has been conducting drills appear to be practice for an invasion of Taiwan, an island of 24 million people. Taiwan also has reported that Chinese military aircraft have entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone more frequently in the past month.
During a conversation with the non-profit think tank RAND Corporation last month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper spoke of China “exerting its malign influence.”
“I want to make clear that China cannot match the United States when it comes to naval power,” Esper said.
Let’s hope we never have to find out.