A Chinese military newspaper was subtly rattling a saber when it said that the PLA is suffering from “peace disease” after nearly four decades without war.

The People’s Liberation Army Daily wrote, “Peace disease has been a common symptom in our military for decades.”

The Chinese PLA hasn’t had any combat experience since a brief foray into Vietnam in the late 1970s and it added, “If we do not make up our mind to eliminate those evils, we must pay a heavy cost in the event of a war.”

Although China boasts the world’s largest standing military, with more than 2.1 million active-duty servicepeople, the country’s last offensive took place in the late 1970s in Vietnam. As a result, military leaders and the Chinese president are afraid troops have grown complacent and less capable. Xi aims to transform his nation’s military into a world-class fighting force within the next 30 years.

“We can only stop a war when we are able to fight,” the PLA newspaper wrote. “Let the army get back on the right track, concentrating on combat-ready training.”

Retired PLA Colonel Yue Gang pointed to corruption, as well as avoiding responsibilities, as the major problems plaguing the Chinese armed forces.

“Apart from corruption, job omission is the next key symptom of ‘peace disease’ in the Chinese military that should be cured,” Yue said, pointing out that the government is working to address both issues.

The army publication also warned that China currently faces greater security threats and unprecedented global concerns. Currently, China continues to flex its muscles in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, raising tensions with multiple Asian neighbors. Beijing has also moved to open foreign military outposts, such as a military hub in the African country Djibouti.

In an effort to confront the U.S. at every turn, China has now befriended an old enemy Russia, to improve ties with the Russians and work together against U.S. interests. After a visiting Russian high ranking military officer to China, Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe vowed that the two nations will “jointly deal with threats and challenges.”

The Chinese potential adversary, the U.S. military has no such “peace disease” having been in constant combat since 2001 in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and several other global hotspots. Despite this, the Chinese continue to push the envelope in the South China Sea, Djibouti, where Chinese military fired lasers at U.S. planes taking off from nearby airfields and potentially blinding pilots and other places

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