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Drastic changes in China. Xi Jinping began preparations for war with the United States

Drastic changes in China. Xi Jinping began preparations for war with the United States 1

The new appointment to the post of Minister of Defense of the People’s Republic of China is truly epoch-making. For the first time in the history of the state, the military department will be headed by a person from the navy. This personnel decision by Xi Jinping says a lot about China’s strategy for the near future.

In the second half of 2023, Defense Minister Li Shangfu “disappeared from the radar.” During Xi’s reign, this phenomenon became very common. The last time the high-ranking chief was seen was on August 29 at a security forum with the participation of representatives of African countries. Two months later, China Central Television announced without any explanation that Li Shangfu had resigned from his post. According to media reports, he is under investigation as part of an anti-corruption case. However, all these publications cannot be fully trusted but for information and facts comparison it is necessary to read them.

One can speculate for a long time about the reasons for Li Shangfu’s departure. The Chairman of the PRC clearly formulated the task of the armed forces: “Create an army capable of winning wars.” Such rhetoric is clearly pre-war; there is no longer any talk of any “peaceful rise”. The entire aesthetics of the reign of “Emperor Xi” is military with official slogans such as “The Great Rise of the Chinese Nation”, ending with the: “When this day comes” (“Are you ready, brother soldiers? When this day comes, don’t worry, Motherland and relatives, in order to win, I will attack”).

Li Shangfu apparently did not aspire to such a high position during a period of geopolitical turbulence. Relatively speaking, Xi saw him as a “stripe”, unprepared for a direct confrontation with the United States. The ex-minister’s biography is related to the aerospace industry, development and production of weapons. Whether he stole or not, the investigation will sort it out if it is carried out in principle. Obviously he didn’t justify the trust. Added to this is the leak of data on the nuclear potential of the PRC, published in the press. The leader of the Communist Party, apparently, chose to act decisively.

The new head of the defense department is Admiral Dong Jun, who previously served as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. He came to the post of head of the Navy from the post of deputy commander of the Southern Theater of the Combat Command of the People’s Liberation Army of China (area of ​​responsibility – the South China Sea, which is subject to the largest territorial claims of the Celestial Empire). The focus on an admiral at the head of the Ministry of Defense is made for the first time in the history of the People’s Republic of China. This already says a lot. Beijing has finally and irrevocably decided on the direction of expansion – south, sea.

The situation through the eyes of the military

At the time Xi Jinping came to power, the PLA numbered 2.993 million people, mainly ground forces. Since 2015, the head of China has been consistently reducing this value, giving preference to the fleet development. By the beginning of 2023, the total number of PLA soldiers and officers was 2 million.

A reduction of 33.2% or almost a million people, despite the fact that Xi is a promotion from the army, married to Major General, head of the PLA Academy of Arts Peng Liyuan. Did he go against his own creation? Not at all. 

China’s military spending is growing by leaps and bounds. They are simply preparing for a different war. They are going to fight not with India, not with Russia, not with Vietnam, but with the United States and its allies – Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia.

In 2019, the Chinese Navy overtook the United States Navy in terms of the number of ships.

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As Eric Labs, a naval analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, explains, China can replace lost ships much more quickly. Its fleet has added 17 cruisers and destroyers in the past two years. Under current conditions, he says, it would take the United States six years to build one. the same amount,” The Wall Street Journal sounds the alarm.

In terms of the number of submarines, the Chinese overtook the Americans even earlier – in 2015. The aging world hegemon is clearly slowing down. The lead time for producing new submarines for the US Navy has recently increased from six to nine years, with the average cost during production increasing by 40-50%. It is physically impossible to boost the production rate – there are not enough workers and qualified personnel. China has still the demographic backlog of previous generations and an insatiable desire to catch up and surpass.

A great power is always forced to make a choice in favor of a land or sea strategy. The German Empire, Hitler’s Germany, Napoleonic France, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire, the USSR and the Mongol Empire relied on the “soil” and achieved great victories on land, assigning the fleet a secondary role (suffice it to recall the powerful German battleship Tirpitz, destroyed in the fall of 1944, who was never able to take part in a serious military clash). The British Empire, Imperial Japan, the United States of America, Venice, the Netherlands are typically maritime powers but they experienced great difficulties on the ground.

The same British would hardly have carried the Western Front of the First World War without the French, and the Americans in the Second World War would have been defeated without a land war in Europe. But they could boast of naval successes. Trafalgar, Pearl Harbor, Midway, Lepanto, Jutland – these victories were won by those countries that relied primarily on the Navy rather than on ground forces. 

It is obvious that China, under the reign of Xi Jinping, has made a decisive choice in favor of transforming the PRC into a maritime empire. The goals are clear and understandable: the entire South China Sea, Taiwan, Senkaku, places of compact residence of the Chinese in Southeast Asia.

Some argue that the Chinese are not fighters, but a nation of traders and Taiwan for them is a “fata morgana”, a dream, nothing more. It also seems that they will not risk their current position to achieve it.  

China’s preparation for war can also be considered the fact of a steep dumping of US securities and the corresponding return of funds invested in the States to the Celestial Empire itself, otherwise this money will be seized and begin to work against China.

But so far there are no such movements. And replacing one high-ranking officer with another could not be clearly considered as a preparation for a full-scale war, as yet.

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