Stay alert during Chinese New Year holidays, President Xi Jinping tells PLA
Beijing, Feb 8: President Xi Jinping has asked the Chinese military to enhance its combat readiness to safeguard national security and peace during the upcoming Spring Festival and Chinese New Year holidays.
China would observe the official seven-day national holiday from Thursday to mark the Year of the Ox. Xi made the remarks while inspecting an aviation division of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force stationed in southwest China's Guizhou Province ahead of the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year.
He said that the PLA troops should enhance their combat readiness during the Spring Festival holidays and safeguard national security as well as the happiness and peace of the people, state-run Global Times reported on Sunday.
It is a usual practice for the Chinese military to enhance its combat readiness in major holidays, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military expert, told the paper.
"History tells us that many wars broke out on holidays or at night when troops let their guard down. That is why we need to stay on high alert particularly when there are holidays, so we can stop any potentially dangerous moves or hostile reconnaissance," Fu said and pointed out frequent forays of US naval ships in the disputed South China Sea.
China claims most of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
A large number of Indian and Chinese troops are also locked in a protracted standoff in eastern Ladakh. Chinese troops are also on alert over rising tensions with Taiwan, which China claims as part of its mainland.