By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Apr 21: China’s President Xi Jinping is now the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of the PLA’s Joint Battle Command as well.
State-run Xinhua news agency and state broadcaster CCTV both declared his appointment with reports in English.
Xi already holds three key tittles- General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Only Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, the erstwhile president had such authority over the troops.
Xi is now the chief commander of the world’s biggest fighting force. After his appointment, Xi has inspected the command centre wearing a camouflage uniform and said, “The military should be absolutely loyal, resourceful in fighting, efficient in commanding and courageous and capable of winning wars” according to a Xinhua report.
Liang Guoliang, a military expert based in Hong Kong said Xi’s new title is similar to the US president’s position as the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. “The CMC is a leading organization, but not a command body in wartime,” Liang said.
Although Xi’s plans to slash China’s troop numbers by 300,000 last year garnered appreciation for his effort, his aggressive foreign policy of rapidly building up artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea and regularly sailing vessels into waters around Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea have aroused fear of clash.