'Don't fear death,' Xi Jinping exhorts the Chinese military

A rare address directed to the entire PLA was delivered by Xi on Jan. 4

File photo July, 31. 2017

File photo July, 31. 2017 (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In what is being called a rare address directed to the Chinese military, President Xi Jinping called on the PLA to "fear neither hardship nor death” fighting for the country.

The address was reportedly made on Jan. 4, and foreign media did not begin receiving details until late in the evening.

Amid rising tensions in East Asia, the address comes at the beginning of a New Year, when China and other countries in the region seem to be anticipating a potentially difficult year ahead.

Xi urged the military to continue improving upon its equipment, tactics, and combat readiness by engaging in “real combat training,” reports AFP.

Xi called on the PLA to“create an elite and powerful force that is always ready for the fight, capable of combat and sure to win in order to fulfill the tasks bestowed by the Party and the people in the new era.”

Chinese media states that this is the first time that the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission has held a mobilization meeting for the entire armed forces.

Xi reiterated the goal of China's PLA to become a "world class" military force by 2050.

Active personnel throughout China are said to have reported to their installations to hear the special address.

Besides the potential conflict with Taiwan, there are many other regions where military conflict may erupt in the coming year including; the Korean Peninsula, Japanese territories around the Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands, the South China Sea, the Tibet and Xinjiang regions, as well as two potential hotspots in the Himalayan region along the Indian border.