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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

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.