Guangzhou: Consolidating his hold on the powerful military, China`s new leader Xi Jinping has ordered the 2.3 million-strong People`s Liberation Army to "obey" the commands of the ruling Communist Party and asked it to be combat-ready.
On his first visit out of Beijing after his election as the General Secretary of the Party replacing President Hu Jintao, Xi visited "Guangzhou military theatre of operations, a term usually used to emphasise the coordination and joint operations by forces in air, land and sea," a Defence Ministry statement said today.
"Bear in mind that it is the soul of the military to obey the command of the Party without compromise, it is the top priority for the military to be able to combat and win battles, and it is fundamental that the military consolidate itself through governing the troops lawfully and austerely, so as to reinforce its development featuring loyalty to the Party, modernisation and standardisation," Xi told officers above the division level of the garrison troops in Guangzhou.
Besides taking over as Party Chief, he also assumed the post of Chief of Military Commission, which makes him the Chief of People`s Liberation Army (PLA) forces. He is due to take over as President in March next year after President Hu Jintao formally retires.
Wearing an army-green Mao suit during his inspection, Xi boarded a PLA Navy destroyer, the Haikou, and had dinner with sailors on the warship. He also examined an armoured vehicle and observed a military drill, official media reported.
The PLA is currently busy holding a series of land, air and naval exercises as China faced tensions in the South China Sea over the maritime disputes with neigbours as with Japan over the disputed islands.
Xi asked PLA officers and non-commissioned officers to adopt real combat criteria in military training and intensify such awareness among soldiers.
Xi also reaffirmed the PLA`s core task of improving its abilities to wage regional wars in the Information Age and conduct diversified military operations.
Xi urged PLA officers and soldiers to maintain their loyalty to the Party by studying and implementing the spirit of the CPC`s 18th National Congress, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
According to China`s regulations, the military functioned under the Party command unlike in the rest of the world where defence forces functioned under the government.
"The PLA should unconditionally implement the principles to govern the military lawfully and austerely, train the troops through strict discipline, always focus on grassroots units and further improve fighting capabilities," Xi said.
Xi also urged the PLA to uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
During his inspection, Xi was accompanied by the PLA`s top brass including Gen Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission and member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, and Wu Shengli, commander of the PLA Navy.