BEIJING, April 21 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken to the additional title of commander in chief of the country's military, a move that could be seen as an effort to exert more control over the armed forces.
The new title was debuted by state-run media Wednesday after Xi visited a battle command center while wearing camouflage military fatigues. He said China should build a command system "capable of winning wars," state media reported.
Xi already holds titles as the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls the People's Liberation Army. His new title, commander in chief of the Joint Operations Command Center, reflects a more direct role in Chinese military matters.
The new title does not suggest the same power over the military as that of the U.S. president. The designation indicates China is quickly modernizing its military forces and Xi seeks to be at the center of change, the BBC reported Thursday.
It added the carefully staged appearance could be interpreted as a signal his power has grown and that he is in absolute control.
China is embroiled in a territorial dispute with several of its eastern and southeastern neighbors over control of the South China Sea, and has increased troop strength on its border with North Korea.