(Beijing) Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the country’s armed forces to strengthen “real combat” training, amid tensions around Taiwan and after three days of military exercises to put pressure on the island.
China views Taiwan as a province it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Beijing saw the meeting last week between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Kevin McCarthy, the third figure in the US government, as a provocation.
In retaliation, the Chinese military has held military exercises to pressure Taiwan.
Warships, fast missile launchers and fighter planes were notably mobilized for these exercises which ended on Monday.
China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi Jinping’s first comments since the military maneuvers on Wednesday.
The army must “vigorously defend our territorial sovereignty as well as our maritime rights and interests of China, and maintain the overall stability of our neighborhood”, insisted the Chinese leader.
His remarks, which did not explicitly mention Taiwan, were made by Xi Jinping on Tuesday while visiting a naval base in southern China.
The leader called on the country’s armed forces to “strengthen military training in real combat”, according to CCTV.
China views with displeasure the rapprochement in recent years between the Taiwanese authorities and the United States which, despite the absence of official relations, provides the island with substantial military support.
Last summer, China engaged in unprecedented military maneuvers around Taiwan and fired missiles in response to a visit to the island by Nancy Pelosi, who was then McCarthy’s House roost.
These remarks by Xi Jinping were made on Tuesday, the day the United States and the Philippines began the largest joint military maneuvers in their history.
The two historic allies are seeking through these exercises to strengthen their coordination to counter China’s influence in the region.
The Philippines’ proximity to Taiwan could make it a key partner in the event of a Chinese invasion of the democratic island.
The Philippines announced earlier this month the location of four new military bases that could be used by the United States, including one near the disputed South China Sea and another not far from Taiwan.
China has castigated this agreement which, according to it, “endangers regional peace and stability”.