BEIJING -- China's Army Day falls on Aug. 1. As the top commander, President Xi Jinping has been leading efforts to modernize national defense and the armed forces, and turn the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into world-class forces.
To reach this goal, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has designed and carried out massive military reforms and directed military development through meetings, orders and instructions.
In addition, Xi has reviewed troops, visited barracks, boarded armored vehicles and warships, and sent his regards to border patrol soldiers.
The following are some highlights of such moments over the past few years:
Xi visited a laboratory for drone technology at the Aviation University of the Air Force when he inspected northeast China's Jilin Province in July 2020.
He inspected teaching facilities for drone operating systems and learned about the training of drone operators.
He stressed strengthening research into unmanned combat, enhancing drone education as a discipline, stepping up training in real combat conditions, and cultivating professionals who can use drones and take command in such warfare.
Xi attended the commissioning ceremony of China's first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Shandong, in December 2019 at a naval port in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province.
Xi boarded the aircraft carrier and reviewed the guards of honor. He also inspected the onboard equipment and asked about the work and life of carrier-based aircraft pilots.
Commending China's achievements in aircraft carrier construction, Xi encouraged the officers and soldiers to continue their efforts to make new contributions in the service of the Party and the people.
TIAN'ANMEN SQUARE PARADE
On Oct. 1, 2019, Xi reviewed the armed forces at Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing as a grand rally was held to mark the 70th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
The National Day parade was the first overall demonstration of Chinese armed forces after their comprehensive reform and restructuring in recent years.
A total of 15,000 personnel, 580 pieces of armament and more than 160 aircraft in 15 foot formations, 32 armament formations and 12 echelons took part in the historic parade.
Xi stressed that the PLA and the People's Armed Police Force should always preserve their nature, purpose and character as the forces of the people, resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and firmly uphold world peace.
MULTINATIONAL NAVAL PARADE
In April 2019, Xi reviewed a multinational fleet in the Yellow Sea as part of the activities to mark the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy.
Xi boarded the destroyer Xining, and reviewed 32 Chinese navy vessels and 39 aircraft, including China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as 18 visiting naval ships from 13 countries.
In a group meeting with the heads of foreign delegations, Xi proposed building a maritime community with a shared future, and called for joint efforts to address common threats and challenges at sea and safeguard maritime peace and tranquility.
ELITE GROUND FORCE
Inspecting a division of the PLA ground force in the Central Theater Command in January 2018, Xi boarded China's self-developed main battlefield 99A tank, known as the "king of land battles," and the Red Arrow-10 anti-tank missile launching vehicle to learn about armaments used in the army.
He visited a reconnaissance company to watch training conducted by snipers, visited a simulation training center and met with officers of the division. He also visited the exhibition center detailing the division's history.
Xi stressed building an elite combat force through real combat training, digitalization, innovation and reform.
Xi reviewed the armed forces in July 2017 as part of the commemorations to mark the 90th PLA founding anniversary.
More than 12,000 service personnel took part in the parade at Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Advanced weapons including stealth fighters and nuclear missiles were displayed. It was the first time for Xi to oversee such a large military parade in the field.
Delivering a speech after the parade, Xi said China's need to build strong armed forces is greater than at any other time in history, as the Chinese nation is closer to the goal of great rejuvenation than ever.
"The PLA has the confidence and capability to defeat all invading enemies and safeguard China's national sovereignty, security and development interests," said Xi.
In January 2014, Xi visited soldiers stationed on the Chinese-Mongolian border.
Braving the cold, Xi met soldiers on a patrol mission and expressed his appreciation to them for working in the harsh weather to safeguard the country. He also stopped at a hilltop border post and inspected the garrison of a border troop company, where he joined officers and soldiers for lunch at their canteen.
"I am very proud of our border troops. With you guarding the country's border, people feel safe and can concentrate on economic development, reform and opening-up," Xi said, stressing the great responsibility of border troops and urging them to work hard and perform their duties well.