The developments in the wake of the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China’s rise, its domestic debates and agenda merit a closer examination of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) role as a geopolitical actor.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who made history with his unprecedented third term in office at the Party Congress in October, told the Chinese elite at the quinquennial gathering that it was important to further expedite military modernisation to make it a world-class force. He underscored that the PLA should be able to stage military operations quickly and have the “ability to win local wars”. On the issue of Taiwan’s reunification, Mr. Xi asserted that while China would make efforts to bring back the territory peacefully, it could deploy military means to achieve its aims. Furthermore, Mr. Xi proclaimed that he would ensure “total reunification of China”. More recently, he told United States President Joe Biden (during their first in-person meeting at the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit in Indonesia) that Taiwan was the core of China’s core interests. Having cranked up the rhetoric, Mr. Xi will have to deliver on Taiwan. In this endeavour, the PLA will be an important component.
Xi’s Congress rhetoric powers the PLA’s march ahead | ORF (orfonline.org)