Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the military to improve its ability to fight and win any conflict -- comments that appear to reinforce his stated desire for reunification with Taiwan.
State-run China Central Television reported on Thursday that Xi made a speech to service members of the People's Liberation Army during an inspection of the Eastern Theater Command. The command covers the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.
Xi said the command has made significant contributions to protecting China's territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests and its national unity.
He urged the military to strengthen its command system for joint operations and ramp up training under real combat conditions.
Xi's remarks come as the United States and other countries are stepping up their engagement with Taiwan.
Analysts say the Eastern Theater Command has been increasing military pressure on Taiwan. It staged a massive exercise in the area in response to the visit by then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei last August.