China’s Xi Calls for Combat Readiness Amid Nuclear Force Shakeup

Hints of war, military leadership purges, and record oil buying from China.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for combat readiness during a recent troop inspection. According to reports from state-run media, Xi was keen to remind China’s air force of the need to modernize the military. China has been upping its long-range capabilities at sea and in the sky.

This comes amid a recent increase in drills around Taiwan.

But amidst this outward bravado, there has been a reshuffling of personnel inside China. China’s nuclear missile unit has a new chief, and two former leaders have been removed. Their dismissal sparked rumors of a purge inside China’s military leadership. There is no word yet from Beijing on the whereabouts of the former generals.

A report by the South China Morning Post last week cited unnamed sources to suggest they’re being investigated for corruption. This follows the scrubbing of Qin Gang from official websites, with Qin having served as China’s foreign minister for less than seven months.

The China Program deputy director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Craig Singleton, told Newsweek that “This high-level purge occurs amidst China’s not-so-transparent effort to significantly expand its nuclear forces.”

That’s due to Xi Jinping’s referring to this unit in the past as a core deterrent against the United States.

However, Mr. Singleton added that it could also be sparked by fear after the Wagner rebellion in Russia.

As for what all these movements mean for us, some say it could signal a coming war.

“I see the biggest risks to the world being a declining China, and everything says China is in decline,” said Dan Harris, who serves as legal counsel for U.S. companies doing business in China. “China’s demographics are terrible. China’s economy is terrible … When countries are going well, they tend not to go to war. It’s when things are bad that they go to war.”

But as for war being imminent, he says it’s not likely to happen immediately.

“Now, I am not saying China’s going to go to war, I certainly hope that they don’t. And this is just one factor that causes countries to go to war. So I am not making any predictions here. But things are not looking good.”

This comes as China’s unemployment rate among youth hit a record of 21 percent in June, or one in five young people in China without a job. Some parents are even paying their children to do chores, earning them the name “full-time children.”

At the same time, China has ramped up oil imports, setting a new record last month with an over 40-percent increase from last year. That’s despite the country pumping out record amounts of its own oil, now ranking fifth in the world.

Those inconsistencies have led some reports to suggest China is hoarding oil. But why?

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