A video showing thousands of troops and hundreds of military vehicles in formation, President Xi Jinping is reported to have given his forces the order to prepare for war.
Here I give my orders: the military at all levels should strengthen military training and war preparedness.
The military should continue to implement actual and joint trainings under combat conditions, and continue to conduct strict training in accordance with the Outline for Military Training and Evaluation.
The military should hold training and competition with mass participation, strengthen tailored and adversarial training, enhance real combat capabilities, and master the skills to fight and win.”
The video is certainly impressive, well staged and filmed. China has the largest military force in the world, numbering about 2.3 million personnel.
The immediate thought that one might be led to believe is that China is preparing for action in regards to North Korea. This is logical enough given the bluster and sabre-rattling between the North Korean government and the United States. It is a well-placed and well-timed video release because it gives a sense of conjecture that the Chinese are actually getting ready to fight.
However, a more pragmatic view of this would show that this is at best, simple optics. The Chinese President is calling his troops to readiness, but so would any other world leader about their own military forces. All such forces should maintain a high state of readiness.
Further, with North Korea signaling a more conciliatory tone in the last few days, it seems far from likely that any military confrontation will take place.
China is, in this author’s belief, simply using the situation and attention the world is giving to that part of the world to show the strength and power of their own military forces. Since we do not get to see much of China and her military activity, this moment seems to have afforded a good opportunity for the Chinese forces to gain something more like prime time.