Chinese President Hu Jintao
on Tuesday urged the navy to prepare for military combat, amid growing regional tensions over
maritime disputes and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.
The navy should "accelerate its transformation and modernisation in a sturdy
way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater
contributions to safeguard national security," he said.
Addressing the powerful Central
Military Commission, Hu said: "Our work must closely encircle the main
theme of national defence and military building."
His comments, which were posted in a statement on a government website, come
as the United States and Beijing's neighbours have expressed concerns over its
naval ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea.
Several Asian nations have competing claims over parts of the South China
Sea, believed to encompass huge oil and gas r
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