President Xi Jinping addressed the nation for the first time since his historic third term as president of China, urging his country to be wary of “outside forces” that threaten the CCP’s hold on Taiwan.
Xi, who has now been the country’s most powerful leader for generations, has been reappointed for another five years at the helm of the world’s most populous country.
The appointment of Li Qiang, a key Xi ally, as the new prime minister was also confirmed at a carefully orchestrated conclave of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress.
In his address to thousands of delegates at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi stressed the need to strengthen national security, stating that “security is the foundation of development, and stability is the precondition for prosperity.”
Xi leans heavily on the idea of ”national reunification” and reaffirmed his party’s desire to counter Taiwan’s “pro-independence” votes.
“We must actively resist outside forces and Taiwan’s separatist independence activities. We must steadily advance the cause of national rejuvenation and reunification,” Xi said.
Xi Jinping also stressed the importance of promoting the modernization of national defense and military forces, calling for the construction of the Great Steel Wall to protect national sovereignty, security and development interests.
In addition, he called for the consolidation of stability in Hong Kong and unification with Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.
Reflecting on his responsibility to the Chinese people, Xi Jinping expressed gratitude for the trust placed in him and acknowledged that “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical process.”
Xi also stressed his plan to further develop China’s already formidable military, citing pressure from foreign powers.
“A call for more attention to science and technology, the perceived pressure from foreign countries they are putting on China, the importance of unifying Taiwan, and the need to strengthen China’s military,” Sky News Asia correspondent Brent O’Halloran said. said.
“On the last point, President Xi said that the military should be modernized and turned into a ‘Great Wall of Steel’.”
Earlier this week, Xi was unusually blunt when he personally accused the US of being behind the campaign to quell the rise of China.
“Western countries, led by the United States, have comprehensively restrained and suppressed us, which has created unprecedented serious problems for our development,” he told a group of carefully selected government advisers at the annual legislative session in Beijing.
The next day, his newly appointed foreign minister picked up on the message.
“If the United States does not put on the brakes but continues on the wrong track, no barriers will be able to prevent the derailment, and conflict and confrontation are sure to ensue,” Qin Gang said during a media presentation.
“China may have interfered in Australian politics — and tried to do the same in Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, Canada and other countries during the election campaign — but its efforts have often been caught and worked against Beijing,” Kurlancik said. author of a new book, Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World.
“His disinformation efforts, while becoming more sophisticated, are still rather clumsy in much of the world, compared to Russia’s, for example.”
Relations with the United States are also at a low point not seen in decades, as the powers bicker over everything from human rights to trade and technology.
“We will see China become more assertive on the world stage, insisting that its position be taken,” Steve Tsang, director of the China SOAS Institute, told AFP.
“But it will also aim to make it domestically less dependent on the rest of the world and make the Communist Party the central element of government rather than the Chinese government,” he said.
“This is not a return to the Maoist era, but a return that Maoists will feel comfortable in,” Tsang added.
“Not a direction of travel that is good for the rest of the world.”
— with AFP
Originally published as Xi Jinping preaches “national reunification” and opposes “independent” influence in Taiwan