Chinese President Xi Jinping urged his military’s leaders to improve modernization, fight the rampant corruption and have the Chinese military a world-class power by the middle of the century.

Meeting senior military leaders for the first time since the country’s new leadership was unveiled for all to see, Xi, who heads the military as well as the Communist Party, has made military modernization a key policy.

In his first publicly reported meeting with top officers since Wednesday’s unveiling of his new Standing Committee, a seven-man body that is the height of power in China, Xi pushed home his modernization message.

The military must ensure it is a world-class service by 2050, Xi said, in comments carried by state media, a goal he set last week at the opening of a key party congress.

The armed forces must “fully recognize the bright prospects for a strong military”, Xi told them. “Put into practice one hundred percent military construction.”

Though China has not fought a war in decades, it has been taking an increasingly assertive stance in the disputed East and South China Seas, as well as over self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as its own, rattling nerves around the region.

While Xi continues to state that these measures are strictly for the defense of the country, the Chinese are pushing their influence far from their borders for the first time. Not only in the Pacific but outwards in the Indian Ocean as well. The Chinese opened a base outside its own borders for the first time in Djibouti and are pushing out commercial ports in Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, and Tanzania.

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