China’s Xi Jinping issues hi-tech military call in push for integrated armed forces


President Xi Jinping has called on the Chinese military to step up hi-tech integration of the armed forces, a drive that observers say will be vital to joint operations.
At a meeting of military deputies to the top legislature on Thursday, Xi said the People’s Liberation Army should “comprehensively improve strategic capabilities in emerging areas”.

He said that among these key areas were deployments in space, cybersecurity defences and artificial intelligence applications.

Xi also ordered the PLA to prepare for “maritime military struggles” and protect maritime rights, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

“The preparation for the military struggle at sea, the defence of maritime rights and interests and the development of the maritime economy must be integrated,” he said.

While not referring directly to the United States, the comments suggested that Xi sees the main potential battlefield Beijing and Washington will be on the water, especially in the South China Sea.

Xi also heard briefings on raising maritime situational awareness, integrating management and use of space resources, and applications of unmanned combat forces, among others, the CCTV report said.