‘Preparing to go to war’ – China President Tells Troops – Reports

AS tension between China and Taiwan intensifies, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his nation’s troops to begin preparing for war, according to a report in Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

“(You should) focus your minds and energy on preparing to go to war, and stay highly vigilant,” Xi is quoted as saying in a report in the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper.

Xi made the remarks during a visit to inspect the marine corps at a military base in the Guangdong province. The purpose of his visit to the region was to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.

But his remarks come at a time when China’s relationships around the world — including with Canada and the United States — are increasingly fraught.

Later this month, a Royal Canadian Navy frigate will join the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military for training in Japan.

A particular point of contention for the Chinese president is Taiwan. For decades, China has claimed jurisdiction over Taiwan, an island democracy off the southeastern coast of the country. In recent months, the standoff has escalated: Chinese warplanes and navy vessels have been spotted in the Taiwan Strait.

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the Institute of Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa, said in the last half-decade China has been increasingly belligerent towards its neighbours, including India and Bhutan.

“The fact that Taiwan is a separate country, democratically elected, they should be seeing Taiwan as a neighbour not as a point of conquest,” said McCuaig-Johnston.

Gordon Houlden, the director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, said Xi is leading China at a time when he has to satisfy burgeoning nationalist sentiment.

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