Chinese President Xi Jinping has told the country's military that it must be prepared to respond to a variety of "complex and difficult" situations at any time, and to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty.
Xi, 67, who heads the ruling Communist Party and the military made the remarks at a panel discussion attended by representatives of the armed forces during the annual Parliament session in Beijing on Tuesday.
"The entire military must coordinate the relationship between capacity building and combat readiness, be prepared to respond to a variety of complex and difficult situations at any time, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and provide strong support for the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist state," he said.
Xi spoke to the military delegates of the National People's Congress, (NPC) which is due to end its six-day annual session on Thursday.
There are 288 national legislators from the armed forces, the largest group of lawmakers in the NPC which has over 2,000 members.
The Parliament session is taking place in the backdrop of China's decision to pullback its troops from the contentious area of Pangong Lake area in eastern Ladakh region in a synchronised withdrawal of soldiers by the Indian Army. India has told China that the disengagement of troops at all friction points is necessary to bring peace and tranquillity on the border and for the development of bilateral relations.
Xi also spoke of uncertain times, amid the growing tensions with the US as President Joe Biden continues to pursue the hardline policy of his predecessor Donald Trump towards China.
The relations between China and the US are at an all time low. The two countries are currently engaged in a bitter confrontation over various issues, including trade, the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the communist giant's aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea and human rights.
China's Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe earlier called on the military to boost combat readiness, saying China's national security had "entered a high-risk phase".
The question of how the People's Liberation Army (PLA) should handle security risks dominated the meeting on Saturday as the country faces challenges on multiple fronts - from its Himalayan border dispute with India to simmering tensions with Japan over the East China Sea and rivalry with the United States, including over technology.
Wei told the delegates that "we are facing mounting tasks in national defence... and we must comprehensively improve military training and preparedness for battle so as to increase our strategic capabilities to prevail over our strong enemies."
"The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is at a critical stage where we are facing unprecedented opportunities as well as unprecedented challenges," Wei said.
Wei also warned that US containment efforts would "last throughout the process of China''s national rejuvenation".