Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday delivered an address at a military parade commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the country’s People's Liberation Army, PLA, applauding its growth and reaffirming its strength.
Discussing its expansion, Jinping jokingly said that the PLA evolved from a “millet plus rifles” into a modern, high-technology armed force.
The Communist Party leader also claimed that the PLA is strong enough to fight off foreign or domestic threats, if provoked.
“The Chinese people love peace. We will never seek aggression or expansion, but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions,” Jinping said.
“We will never allow any people, organization or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form.”
Suggesting improvements to the PLA, Xi recommended that the armed body “remain the army of the party and the people” by implementing the vision and policies outlined by China's Communist Party.
“To build a strong military, (we) must unswervingly adhere to the Party's absolute leadership over the armed forces, and make sure that the people's army always follow the Party,” he said.
The comments were made in the lead up to the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress, which is held every five years.
The PLA was established on Aug. 1, 1927 during an armed communist rebellion in the city of Nanchang. At the time, it only had 20,000 soldiers. Currently, the PLA has over 2 million active personnel.
Since Xi came to office in 2012, China's armed forces have undergone a robust technological upgrade, as well as enhancing its training and combat readiness. Concurrently, over 100 high-ranking military officers have been punished for alleged corruption and a host of other offenses.