While it is unclear how much of it is populist bluster, how much is posturing, and how much an actual, objective caution, Bloomberg points out an article by China's news agency Xingua posted on the website of the Ministry of National Defense, in which Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (which is chaired by Xi Jinping himself) "urges Chinese troops to get prepared for combat by improving planning, equipment and logistical support in order" to be ready to "win the war."
Bloomberg adds that Fan made the comments in recent inspection tour of China’s Southern Theater Command. The warning comes days after China officially warned the US that its patrols in the South China Sea - which despite last week's decision by the Hague tribunal - deems as its own, could end in "disaster."
A quick bio of Fan Changlong:
Fan Changlong (born 1947) is a general in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the People's Republic of China. He is a Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and formerly served as commander of the Jinan Military Region.
Fan was born in Dandong, Liaoning Province. He joined the PLA and the Communist Party of China in 1969. He became a major general in 1995, a lieutenant general in 2002, and general on July 15, 2008. Fan has been an alternate member of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and a full member of the 17th Central Committee. In 2012, ahead of the 18th Party Congress, he was appointed Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
In mid-April 2016, he paid a visit to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, according to the country’s Ministry of National Defense, which reported the visit on Friday 15 April 2016. Gen. Fan Changlong was said to have been the highest-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer ever to visit the Spratly Islands. General Fan led a delegation to the “relevant Nansha Islands to offer good wishes to officers and personnel stationed there, and also to understand the construction of facilities on the islands,” said a brief statement from the Ministry of National Defense. His tour appeared intended to show China’s determination to ward off any challenges to its claims over the islands, which are also the subject of claims by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.
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And here is the full article as it appeared on the Chinese Ministry of National Defense., google translated.
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CPC Central Committee, Central Military Commission Vice-Chairman Fan Changlong emphasized recently in the southern theater forces research, to earnestly study and implement President Xi major strategic thinking and decision-making important instructions, adhere to the party's absolute leadership over the army, firmly grasp the Party in the new situation strong military target under the full implementation of the political army reform and a strong army, in army stepping up preparations for military struggle, strengthen the combat of military training, and constantly improve deterrence and combat capability, and resolutely obey the Central military Commission and President Xi command, and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.
Central Military Commission, commander of the Air Force Ma Xiaotian, CMC member and rocket forces commander Wei Feng and were about to participate in research.
Fan Changlong stressed the need to deeply understand the complexity of the grim situation facing the security, stepping up preparations for military struggle of the work to ensure that the order, be able to have to go win the war. Focus on the difficult situation to deal with complex, targeted research warfare countermeasures, revision and improvement plan program, deepen all aspects of preparation of personnel, equipment, security and so on. Depth specializing in refining and confrontational drills used in efforts to build a critical moment, to play a key role in the "dagger" forces, improve military and emergency response capabilities assault capability. Strengthen combat duty, well-organized air and sea patrol, firmly secure disposal of various contingencies, to ensure air safety side of the sea. We must resolutely implement the Party Central Committee and President Xi instructions requirements, support local flood prevention work to do, to protect people's lives and property, to restore normal production and life order to contribute.
Fan Changlong pointed out that we should always put ideological and political construction in the first place the construction efforts in enhancing political awareness, the overall sense of core consciousness, awareness on par with efforts to lay a solid command of the Party's ideological and political foundation. Should study and implement President Xi "July" important speech as a major political task, a thorough understanding of speech grasp the profound meaning and spirit, enhance crack army building, the actual ability to reform and preparations for military struggle puzzle. To continue thoroughly implement the spirit of the ancient Tianquan Jun political union, a strong push forward the reform of military education campaign and the "two learning to do a" study and education, a view to achieving real results.
Fan Changlong stressed the need to pay attention to changes in military research and external environment, the test of reform and adjustment of interests, arduous task forces and other factors soldiers thought to bring stability to focus on the grassroots level, unify ideological work fell to the grass roots, and create hold people's hearts by undertaking internal environment, so that the officers and men have to realize the value of life and to get a sense of accomplishment. Strengthen military management, to maintain security and stability forces. Perseverance strengthen style building, completely eliminate Guo, Xu due to potential regulatory pernicious habits and promote overall improvement troops atmosphere, enhance the cohesion of combat troops to stimulate positive energy Army-strong army.