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President Xi rides in a military vehicle in June 2017. Photo: Anthony Kwan / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping convened a military mobilization meeting on Wednesday — the first ever for the entire Chinese armed forces. PRC media reports showed Xi in battle dress addressing the troops, looking at a tank, and peering through the sights of an automatic weapon.

Quick take: Xi has undertaken the most ambitious reform of the military in decades, and in spite of resistance at the start, he looks to have largely won the political battles over those reforms.

Buildup continues: According to the South China Morning Post, China has started construction on its third aircraft carrier, and per Xinhua the military is outfitting a new 10,000 ton destroyer.

"The Chinese military should modernize its buildup and management and focus on becoming an elite fighting force that uses digital technologies, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday" per China Daily.

Threat level: In what may have been a warning to the U.S., the China Daily says that after the mobilization meeting Xi inspected a division that fought the U.S. in the Korean War. The paper reports:

  • Xi viewed pictures of the division's intense battle near the Kaechon region in the Korean Peninsula during the "War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea," aka the Korean War, from 1950 to 1953. He praised the soldiers who fought in it for their valor.
  • "Our military has always fought with great spirit, Xi said. In the past, we had more spirit than steel. Now we have plenty of equipment, so we need an even tougher and stronger spirit to wield it, he said."

Go deeper

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.