BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s armed forces should devote greater energy to training under combat conditions and boost combat preparedness, Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday.
“Our armed forces, with a focus on the goals for the centenary of the People’s Liberation Army in 2027, should work to carry out military operations, boost combat preparedness, and enhance military capabilities,” he said in his work report to the opening of the annual meeting of China’s parliament.
China has the world’s largest military and its development and Beijing’s strategic intentions have been a cause of concern regionally and in Washington, especially as tensions have spiked in recent years over Chinese-claimed Taiwan.
Beijing routinely says that its military spending for defensive purposes is a comparatively low percentage of its GDP and that critics want to demonize it as a threat to world peace.
“The armed forces should intensify military training and preparedness across the board, develop new military strategic guidance, devote greater energy to training under combat conditions and make well-coordinated efforts to strengthen military work in all directions and domains,” Li said.
This year’s defence budget has yet to be released but is likely to come out later on Sunday when the government releases its overall 2023 budget.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by William Mallard & Simon Cameron-Moore)
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