As Xi Jinping awaited the renewal of his presidential five-term for the third time, he vowed to continue his transformative approach to modernize the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and achieve world-class status by 2027.

During the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) opening on Sunday, Xi stressed his intention to reform further the national defense and the military, including “informatization and intelligentization” that would strengthen its armed forces’ capabilities to safeguard the country’s “sovereignty, security, and development interests.” The goal’s timeline corresponds to the centennial anniversary of the PLA’s founding.

“Achieving the goal of a hundred-year struggle to build an army within the scheduled time frame and accelerate the transformation of the People’s Liberation Army of China is a strategic requirement for the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist state,” Xi said, adding that the country is set to pursue an “independent and peaceful foreign policy” and “will never exercise hegemony and expansion.”

The CCP sought to continue intensified troop training and combat readiness throughout the country as part of China’s world-class military modernization. It also aimed to expand overall military governance, as well as consolidate and enhance integrated national strategies and strategic capabilities, Xi explained. Furthermore, the CCP leader stated that he would oversee innovation for the guidance of military strategy and tactics of people’s war throughout his third term, in addition to building a strong deterrence force system, increasing the presence of combat forces in new territories, and strenuously promoting combat-oriented military training.

A Chinese military expert told Global Times that the deterrence force system Xi mentioned may be referring to the strategic nuclear force that the CCP leader said would ensure improvement in the PLA’s capabilities and play a vital role in preventing war.