By Guo Yuandan
China's Central Military Commission (CMC) held an annual military training kicking-off ceremony in the year of 2018 on the morning of January 3. Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), gave instructions and orders to all Chinese armed forces in the ceremony.
This was the first ever ceremony held by China's CMC. What are its implications? We interviewed some experts to learn the answers.
The main venue of the ceremony was a shooting range of an army regiment under the Central Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). More than 7,000 fully armed military members lined up, and nearly 300 pieces of equipment were positioned in a rapid and orderly manner.
Meanwhile, in response to Xi Jinping’s orders, a total of 4,000-plus sub-venues were also set up across the military, including field-oriented sub-venues for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force, and the Chinese People's Armed Police Force.
The annual military training of 2018 began shortly thereafter. Various troops launched their exercises as planned. According to the official microblog of the PLA Air Force, multiple J-11B and JL-10 fighters were engaged in a real-combat air confrontation and live-fire air-ground assault training at an airport in north China on January 3. The highlight of the training was live-fire operations.
Stress on combat readiness
An insider with 30 years of military experience told the reporter on January 3 that this annual military training kicking-off ceremony held by the CMC was the first of its kind in China’s military history. It signals to members of the armed forces a clear intention to comprehensively elevate the troops’ combat readiness.
The insider added that the presence of all military leaders from the CMC chairman to its members demonstrated the importance that the leadership attaches to the military training. The ceremony’s being set at the very beginning of 2018 manifests the leadership’s determination to make good progress in the New Year to come. In addition, the venue, a vast shooting range, indicates the CMC’s intention of creating an awe-inspiring impression with fully armed soldiers.
Highlight of real-combat training
After the ceremony, the official Internet accounts of the Southern Theater Command, the Northern Theater Command and the Western Theater Command of the PLA successively released their coverage of starting military training, with all of them stressing real combat readiness.
A Marine Corps brigade of the PLA Southern Theater Command organized a real-combat-oriented confrontation exercise between red and blue sides of mechanized infantry platoons in mountainous regions in the brigade’s first training this year.
In 2018, the PLA will roll out training campaigns following the new version of Military Training Outline, one of the guidelines of which is to increase training intensity, difficulty and length to meet real combat requirements.
Another official media release said that an aviation brigade under the 79th Group Army required its soldiers to stretch their fighting performance, including that of weaponry, to the extreme in difficult and complicated weather and terrain conditions.
Some analysts said that the high attention the CMC attached to the military training may curb some impractical showy moves in military training.
The promotion of censorship and accountability in military training has been in full swing across the armed forces in recent years.
Last March, 57 military units involving 99 military officials were called to account, punished and criticized.
In June, 107 military training experts were hired as the first batch of CMC military training inspectors.
In November, the first censorship campaign on military training was carried out in joint campaign training of services and arms. This also guaranteed progress in real-combat-oriented military training.
Real combat training and peaceful development do not conflict
China always adheres to a defensive national defense policy. China’s military development is meant only to safeguard national security without targeting any country or object.
The PLA’s determination to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity is unshakable. Wu Qian, spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense, said at a regular ministry press conferencein November 2017 that military training must stay aligned with international strategic layout changes and China’s security situation to ensure that China can decisively cope with various threats and emergencies.