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PLA urged to bolster capabilities in the south

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-27 04:29
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, shakes hands with military officers as he inspects the Southern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army, Oct. 25, 2018. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

President Xi Jinping urged military personnel from the People's Liberation Army Southern Theater Command on Thursday to enhance command, combat and coordination capabilities to better protect stability and people near the country's southern borders.

During an inspection of the theater command, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, called for the development of a strong and efficient command to improve the ability to win battles.

The PLA has five theater commands, and the Southern Theater Command oversees military personnel and hardware in six southern provincial-level regions: Guangdong, Hunan, Hainan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. It also operates the PLA South Sea Fleet, which is responsible for maintaining peace and security in the South China Sea.

Xi arrived at one of the command offices on Thursday morning to inspect how the joint command system works, and made a video call to officers of border and coastal defense at the front line, according to video footage that China Central Television broadcast on Friday.

"You're constantly working at the front line, and playing key roles in protecting national territorial sovereignty and maritime interests," he said. "(I) hope you can fulfill such sacred and solemn missions."

Xi told the officers to pay close attention to changing situations, sharpen their analysis and judgment, and resolutely safeguard border stability and protect the safety of lives and property of the people.

The PLA should work with local authorities to form a powerful joint force to maintain border stability, he said.

Xi also urged the military to take into consideration and optimize response plans for various complex scenarios. It should also strengthen training for actual combat and improve command mechanisms to ensure efficient communication, thus increasing the PLA's ability to win in modern warfare, he added.

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