China's President Xi Jinping told his soldiers to train harder and fear neither hardship nor death in order to win wars, state media reported Wednesday.
In an address to the Central Military Commission, which he chairs, Xi ordered military officers and soldiers to focus on preparing for war "under real combat conditions," Xinhua News Agency said.
Speaking at the Jingxi Hotel in Beijing, the Communist Party chairman called for his armed forces to strengthen training and sharpen their joint operations capabilities as the People's Liberation Army enters a "new era." He stressed the importance of technological integration as well as science and technology literacy at all levels of the military.
President Xi ordered troops to maintain from start to finish the tenacious fighting spirit of "do not fear hardship and do not fear death," Xinhua said.
The Chinese leader said the Chinese military was entering a "new stage of reform" in response to developments in the country's national security environment, the modernization of the military and new forms of modern combat.
He stressed the party's long-stated goal was turning the PLA into a world-class fighting force.
China's 2-million-strong military, backed by half a million conscript reserves, are currently engaged in combat exercises or ongoing armed stand-offs on multiple fronts.
The PLA Air Force continues to fly warplanes toward the self-ruled island of Taiwan while its navy sails into the South China Sea.
Two large navy exercises are also underway in the Taiwan Strait this month, with state media outlets describing the live-fire landing drills as a strong message aimed directly at Taipei, whose current government it views as "secessionists."
On its southwestern border, China is yet to disengage from a military stalemate with India that is nearing its eighth month. It follows violent melees along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh this summer, resulting in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of Chinese troops.
New Delhi and Beijing have scheduled a ninth round of high-level military talks aimed at de-escalating the tension in the Himalayas, but there are no signs of either side backing down.
In its 2020 report on the PLA, the Rand Corporation noted that the Chinese military was aiming for dominance in the air, sea and information.
Xi's armed forces are increasingly looking toward the inclusion of big data and machine intelligence to form part of their combat strategy and execution guidelines.
"Xi Jinping and his strategists are looking beyond his 2035 'fully modernized' milestone to develop military theory and concepts for a 'world-class military' by 2050," the Rand Corp. report said.
Earlier this month, President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting U.S. investment in 31 Chinese firms his Department of Defense says is controlled by the country's military.
The ban, which affects Huawei and the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, comes into effect on January 11, 2021.
In what could be his last act against China before leaving the White House, the president is said to be mulling over a list of 89 Chinese companies that will be forbidden from buying U.S. technology and other goods, according to Reuters.