(Bloomberg) -- President Xi Jinping called for “breaking new ground” in weapons development, as China and the U.S. rebalance their forces for an era of what Biden administration has dubbed “strategic competition.” 

Xi told a military conference Tuesday that China must create a “new situation” to support the production of weaponry and military equipment and establish a modern management system for the industry, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. He praised the country’s achievements over the past five years, saying “such progress has served as the material and technological underpinning for the country’s strategic capabilities, military strength in particular.” 

The meeting was attended by representatives from the armed forces, government agencies, companies and academia, as China pursues Xi’s goal of building a “world-class” military by 2049. The Pentagon has interpreted that to mean building a force “equal to -- or in some cases superior to -- the U.S. military,” saying in a report last year that China had already reached or exceeded parity in areas such as shipbuilding, missiles and air-defense systems. 

China has in recent months tested or unveiled several new weapon systems that appear designed to offset American advantages in things like force projection and missile defense. The country put a missile topped with a hypersonic glider into orbit in July, the Financial Times reported, while the country used the Zhuhai Airshow last month to debut the J-16D, an “electronic warfare” variant of the fighter jet built by a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp of China Ltd.

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