Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the country's military in late 2020 to brace for a possible war amid frictions between Beijing and Western countries, presenting his view that the inevitable decline of the United States and Europe has begun, according to internal documents.
Xi emphasized at a closed meeting of the ruling Communist Party's Central Military Commission that if a localized conflict occurs and continues, it could spread to wider areas, though he denied the possibility of another world war, the documents issued in June last year showed.
The documents featuring Xi's remarks at the meeting on Dec. 21, 2020, of the commission he heads have been used as a textbook for senior officials of the military and the party.
Even though China and the United States have recently been accelerating talks to defuse tension over a host of issues, the papers indicate Beijing remains highly vigilant about the possibility of a military clash.
Sino-U.S. relations had significantly deteriorated by December 2020, with the administration of then President Donald Trump stepping up criticism against China over the spread of the novel coronavirus, which was first detected in late 2019 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
At the meeting, Xi referred to weakening Western influence in contrast to the growing power of China, stating that "the East is rising and the West is declining," and characterizing it as a "historical trend."
However, the leader said the situation in which the West has competitive advantages "basically remains unchanged," referring to the unavoidable risks of collision between Western countries and China, which has been bolstering its military and economic power.
Based on such a view, Xi stressed the need for the Chinese military to "prepare for the outbreak of a war and its chain reactions," ordering the forces to "be constantly ready for fighting" to safeguard national sovereignty and interests, according to the documents.
His comments are believed to have been made in contemplation of a hypothetical Taiwan emergency. China, which regards the self-ruled democratic island as a renegade province to be unified with the mainland by force if necessary, has recently increased military pressure on the territory.
Xi also claimed at the 2020 meeting that anti-China forces in the West aim to topple the Chinese Communist Party leadership, suggesting his strong distrust in the United States, the documents showed.