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China’s Xi orders army to be battle-ready amid US tension

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the country’s armed forces to get prepared for a “comprehensive military struggle” amid escalating tensions with the United States.

The president urged the armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do everything possible to prepare for battle.

Addressing a meeting of the Central Military Commission in the capital Beijing on Friday, Xi said the world is in an era of drastic changes and “China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,” Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

He also warned that various predicable and unpredictable risks and challenges have been arising and that the armed forces needed to be able to respond quickly to emergencies and nurture new types of combat forces.

The president’s remarks follow his speech on the 40th anniversary of a key Taiwan policy statement. He said Beijing “make[s] no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means” to achieve “reunification” with Taiwan and prevent the island’s independence.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, and almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty under a policy known as “One China.”

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who accuses Beijing of interfering in the island’s political and social development, called on Saturday for international support.

“We hope that the international community takes it seriously and can voice support and help us,” Tsai told reporters in the capital Taipei.

She said if the international community did not support her government, “we might have to ask which country might be next?”

Taiwan has already lost several allies one after another since Tsai took office in 2016. Only last year, it lost three allies, who switched diplomatic allegiance to Beijing, leaving Taiwan now with just 17.

Tsai accused China of buying off its diplomatic partners with generous aid packages in an effort to squeeze Taipei.