Xi Jinping consolidates 'control' but PLA is 'acutely unprepared' for conflicts, says US Congress report

    09-Jun-2021   
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New Delhi: Chinese President Xi Jinping has made significant gains in consolidating his hold on the Communist Party but 'reorganisation and disruption' has perhaps made the PLA acutely unprepared for conflicts.
 
"Xi appears to have made significant gains toward a second objective of consolidating party control over and ensuring the loyalty of the armed forces. Xi has extended his national anti-corruption campaign to the military. This is widely seen as having allowed him to simultaneously curb waste and corruption and marginalize political rivals", said the latest report of the US Congressional Research Service.
 
These have strengthened Xi Jinping's personal control over the armed forces and it is also stated that Xi’s reform and reorganization process is designed to improve the PLA’s ability to “fight and win".
 
The report, however, stated: "As the PLA reorganizes itself, the force is undergoing a period of significant disruption, leading some observers to question whether the PLA might be acutely unprepared for conflict while the reorganization process is ongoing".
 
It also says, "there are indications that Xi and other top leaders remain concerned, as PLA self-assessments in recent years have continued to question the loyalty of some unnamed PLA leaders to the Chinese Communists Party (CCP)."
 
Referring to the Taiwan imbroglio, the report says, although the People's Republic of China has never controlled Taiwan, it claims "sovereignty over Taiwan, maintaining that mainland China and Taiwan are parts of 'one China' whose sovereignty cannot be divided".
 
"China’s leaders view Taiwan’s permanent separation from the Mainland as the greatest challenge to its “core interest” of preserving China’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”," it says.
 
The Chinese leaders and strategists believe the US support for Taiwan seeks to exploit and exacerbate the cross-Strait divide in order to contain China, the report says.
 
"China’s decision to use force against Taiwan likely would depend on factors such as political developments in Taiwan and U.S.-Taiwan relations, and whether China’s leaders perceive that the door to achieving their goal is opening, closing, or standing still," it says.
 
The US Congress report also said that - "In Hong Kong, the PLA operates a garrison, which historically has maintained a low profile, although analysts and diplomats reported increased troop numbers and a higher degree of readiness amid rising unrest in Hong Kong in 2019".
 
The report highlights some facets of Chinese policy and says, "Since the 1990s, China’s leaders have sought to find synergies between economic development and military modernization, leveraging each to enrich the other.
This sprawling and ambitious initiative, previously called civil-military integration and now referred to as military-civil fusion, has taken on greater resonance as the PLA seeks to leverage advanced and emerging technologies".
 
The report claims, the consensus among PRC military scholars and leaders is that "military superiority" in the 21st century hinges on the ability to harness civilian science and technology resources and integrate them into military operations".