BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the army to enhance its combat readiness to make sure it is always ready for a battle, saying risks and challenges are on the rise as the world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, state media reported Saturday.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the world’s largest with two million troops, last year doubled the training period for new recruits from three to six months in a bid to improve their combat capabilities.

Xi told a meeting of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high command of the Chinese military, that “the world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development”.

Preparedness is vital in the era of drastic changes, unpredictable risks, Xi said on Friday, official media reported. He ordered the armed forces to continue strengthening their combat preparedness and to make sure they are always ready for battle, state-run China Daily reported. Xi stressed the armed forces’ ability to respond effectively to contingencies, Party and government departments and agencies at the central and local levels are required to support the defence and military development, he said.


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