President Xi Jinping visits the operational command center of a People’s Liberation Army Air Force base in Gansu province on Thursday to check its combat readiness and training. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping urged the Chinese military on Thursday to continue improving its combat capability and readiness.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the armed forces must fully understand, uphold and implement the Party’s theories on building a strong military as well as its defense strategies and policies.

They also must always keep their missions in mind, strengthen combat training and produce new achievements to celebrate the coming 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October, he said.

The president made the remarks during an inspection tour to a People’s Liberation Army Air Force base as part of his four-day visit to Gansu province that started on Monday. He was accompanied by General Xu Qiliang, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and former commander-in-chief of the Air Force, at the base.

He checked on how Air Force members work at the base’s command center and was briefed about the base’s operations and training.

Xi held teleconferences with troops from the base. Speaking with operators at a surveillance radar station, he ordered them to continue honing their capabilities and make new contributions to the country’s air defense.

In talking with pilots and ground staff from a transport aircraft regiment, he recognized their participation in aerial seeding of plants and encouraged them to continue supporting economic and social development.

During a meeting with the PLA’s high-ranking commanders and the base’s senior officers, Xi ordered the military to keep intensifying its combat preparedness to make sure that troops are always ready to fight and are capable of defeating any enemies.

He said that training and exercises must be realistic and close to real war and must be focused on joint operations. He also stressed that military units at all levels must take good care of their troops and resolve problems for officers and soldiers.

This was the fourth public visit by Xi to Air Force facilities since he took office as the Party’s top leader in November 2012. He had previously visited an aviation testing and training base and the Air Force’s headquarters and had boarded a strategic bomber aircraft.

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