The communique issued after the Fifth Plenum (October 26-29, 2020) of the CCP CC says that China is still in a period of important strategic opportunity as the world is “undergoing changes unseen in a century”. The last few paragraphs of the Communique focus on the PLA modernisation and China’s national security. It urged the PLA to speed up the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces and realise the unity of a prosperous country and a strong military. In addition, it called for the acceleration of the integration of mechanisation, informationisation and intelligence and comprehensive strengthening of military training and preparations, the strategic ability to defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and “ensure that the goal for which we have been striving for one hundred years of building the army will be achieved in 2027". Analysts have interpreted this to mean that this is a new goal for the PLA to become a modern military by 2027. A report in the South China Morning Post (October 30) said this implies the PLA must match and be able to deter the US in the Western Pacific which means the PLA Navy will need three ready-to-deploy aircraft carriers groups. The CCP-owned Global Times (October 31) said retired PLAN officer and Beijing-based military analyst Li Jie had observed that with the centennial goal of building a modern military by 2027, China aims to develop the military with the capability to defend national sovereignty, safeguard against security threats posed by the hegemonism in western pacific region and protect overseas development interests as China's overseas economic presence grows. He added that “By 2027, the Chinese military will have the ability to effectively deal with threats in the western pacific region, including Taiwan and the South China Sea, as well as border tensions between China and India.”

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