China’s president, Xi Jinping, recently made his first speech as a third-term president in which he vowed to bolster China’s national security and build the military into a “great wall of steel.”
Xi spoke at the closing of China’s annual rubber-stamp parliament meeting regarding the need to “modernize” China’s national defense and military.
“We must build the People’s Liberation Army into a great wall of steel that effectively safeguards national sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
Xi was unanimously endorsed by the NPC as China’s president for another five years, making him the longest serving head of state of Communist China since it was founded in 1949.
“This is my third time assuming the lofty position as president. The trust of the people is the biggest driving force for me to move forward, and also a heavy responsibility on my shoulders,” he said, as reported by CNN.
“China’s suffering at the hands of bullying foreign powers in the modern era, the Communist Party has led the country to wipe clean the national humiliation. The Chinese people have become the masters of their own destiny. The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical process,” he said.
According to Xi the “essence of that rejuvenation is national unification, namely reunifying Taiwan with mainland China.”
Despite China never controlling Taiwan, it considers the self-governing democracy as part of its territory.
During his presidency, Xi has ramped up economic, diplomatic, and military pressure on Taiwan’s Democracy with Beijing.
“We must… actively promote peaceful development of cross-strait relations, firmly oppose interference of external forces and Taiwan’s separatist activities, and resolutely advance the process of national reunification,” Xi said.
“Security is the foundation for development, stability is the prerequisite for prosperity,” he said.
The focus of strengthening China’s military also follows tensions between the nation and the US. Xi even accused the US of “leading Western countries to contain and suppress China and bring it unprecedented severe challenges.
Qin Gang, Xi’s new foreign minister, also warned that China and the US will “descend into conflict and confrontation,” if the US doesn’t “hit the breaks.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.