Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged People's Liberation Army servicemen to "maintain a state of high alert" and "put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war" during a visit to the Marine Corps in Chaozhou City in the southern province of Guangdong. He continued by calling on the troops to be "absolutely loyal" and "reliable" in these times without elaborating on the reason for such an address.
Xi Jinping's statements come amid continuing tensions between China and the US on a variety of issues. In the most recent development, Beijing condemned Washington after one of its destroyers, USS John S. McCain, was spotted sailing in the area near the Parcel Islands in the disputed South China Sea. China, which controls most of the sea riddled with territorial claims from five countries, blasted the ship's actions, as the US Navy never requested permission for its vessel to enter territory Beijing deems as being within its territorial waters.
Such incidents, which China lambasts as "provocations", are not rare, as the US regularly sends its ships to the region under the pretext of freedom of navigation operations. The Chinese authorities have repeatedly warned Washington that one day its actions might lead to an incident at sea and accused the White House of militarising the South China Sea and preventing the local governments from sorting out their mutual territorial claims.