During an inspection of the Marines of the People’s Liberation Army of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the city of Chaozhou, “Xinhua” said that “Xi” asked the soldiers to “maintain a state of maximum alert,” and called for them to be “completely loyal, completely pure, and completely reliable.” .
The main purpose of Xi’s visit to Guangdong was to deliver a speech on Wednesday marking 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 the Chinese economy become the second largest in the world.
But the military visit comes at a time when tensions between China and the United States remain at their highest levels in decades, as disputes over Taiwan and the coronavirus epidemic have created sharp divisions between Washington and Beijing.
The White House informed the US Congress on Monday that it plans to proceed with the sale of three advanced weapon systems to Taiwan, according to a congressional aide, including the High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS).
In a firm response from Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Legian called on Washington to “immediately cancel any plans for arms sales to Taiwan” and cut all “military ties between the United States and Taiwan.”
Although Taiwan was never controlled by the ruling Communist Party in China, the authorities in Beijing insist that the democratic and autonomous island is an integral part of its territory, as Xi himself refuses to rule out military force to seize it if necessary.
Despite the Chinese government’s refusal, relations between Washington and Taipei have intensified under the Trump administration. And in August, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in decades, when he ostensibly traveled to the island to discuss the pandemic.
In response, Beijing increased military exercises around Taiwan. About 40 Chinese warplanes crossed the line between the mainland and Taiwan on September 18 and 19 – one of several flights described by island president Tsai Ingwen as a “threat to use force”.
In a speech to the RAND Corporation on September 16, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that China “cannot match the United States” in terms of naval power and described Beijing as “malign influence.”
He told the audience: “(China and Russia) are using the predatory economy, political sabotage and military force in an attempt to shift the balance of power in their favor, and often at the expense of others.”
In early October, Esper announced his “Battle Force 2045” plan, which calls for the expansion and modernization of the US Navy of 500 manned and unmanned ships by 2045.
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