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China’s Defense Minister Warns of ‘High-Risk Period’ with U.S., as President Xi Seeks ‘Scaled Up’ Preparedness

May 27, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Chinese Defense Minister, PLA Gen. Wei Fenghe issued a warning that China-U.S. rivalry is entering a “high-risk period,” according to a report in today’s South China Morning Post. On the sidelines of the National People’s Congress, Wei said, “The United States has intensified the suppression and containment of our side since the [coronavirus] outbreak, and the Sino-U.S. strategic confrontation has entered a period of high risk. We must strengthen our fighting spirit, be daring to fight and be good at fighting, and use fighting to promote stability.”

Naming the U.S. in this respect is highly unusual, and General Wei’s comments were specifically released to the media covering the National People’s Congress.

SCMP paraphrased Gen. Zhu Cheng, head of the PLA Air Force’s armament department, as saying “the rivalry between China and the West in the cyber, space, deep sea and biological spheres was intensifying.” Zhu suggested “speeding up the application of home-grown innovative and revolutionary technologies,” he was quoted as saying.

“We need to avoid the strategic vulnerabilities caused by generation lapse with the United States and the West,” Zhu said.

President Xi Jinping also addressed the NPC delegation for the PLA and the People’s Armed Police. He said the epidemic has brought a profound impact on the global landscape and on China’s security and development as well. He ordered the military to think about “worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests,” reported Global Times yesterday.

The military budget will remain at 6.6% of the nation’s budget this year in spite of decreases in most of the other categories of government spending in the wake of the pandemic. President Xi also stated that there would have to be a serious recalculation of the military budget in light of the present tensions as preparations are being made for the next five-year plan, which will begin next year.

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