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

Grand jury indicts ex-officer who shot Breonna Taylor for wanton endangerment

A memorial to Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Sept. 23. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March and shot her at least eight times, on three counts of wanton endangerment.

The state of play: None of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid will face charges related to the actual death of Taylor, such as homicide or manslaughter.

FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!