China’s Xi named commander in chief

Xi Jinping, in military uniform, gestures during a tour of the military command centre in Beijing, 21 April 2016Image copyright

Image caption

Xi Jinping (right) said the military should be “absolutely loyal”

China’s President Xi Jinping has taken on a new military title, in his latest move to exert greater control over the armed forces.

Mr Xi is now commander in chief of the military’s Joint Operations Command Centre.

State media showed him visiting the centre wearing camouflage fatigues.

China’s foreign policy has become increasingly assertive in recent years, especially on its claims to disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Mr Xi is already General Secretary of the Communist Party, and chair of the Central Military Commission, which manages the People’s Liberation Army.

However, analysts say his new title indicates he wants to be seen as a leader capable of commanding the military directly.

Image copyright

Image caption

Xi Jinping’s new title is seen as his latest move to increase his control over the military

During his visit to the centre on Wednesday, which was widely publicised in state media, he said the armed forces should be “absolutely loyal” and “capable of winning wars”.

Experts say his appearance in military fatigues may also be a display of strength aimed at China’s rivals.

China and several of its neighbours are locked in a territorial dispute over the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety.

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