Just days after President Xi Jingping’s speech to the 19th People’s Congress, in which he pledged the country would field a world-class military by 2050, Beijing is boasting about how far its strategic bombers have been pushing into the South China Sea.
Beijing says it is training its bomber pilots more frequently, that training is becoming more effective, and that crews are pushing further than ever into disputed areas of the South China Sea.
Liu Rui, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) bomber pilot, told a press conference on the sidelines of the National Party Congress there had been “a very dramatic change” in the frequency and intensity of training and patrols over the past five years.
“We have made a great breakthrough in training of the H-6K bomber in the South China Sea and the western Pacific,” he said.
“We are moving toward Xi’s target of being able to fight and win.”
Also, Liu said a military should be “built to fight,” which is a different philosophy than Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, who said China’s military should be capable of defending China’s “peaceful development.”
Analyst comment: More and more, the Chinese people and certainly China’s military are buying into Xi’s nationalistic attitude, in which he seeks to make the country a greater power.
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