Xi says Beijing ready to fight ‘bloody battle’

‘ONE CHINA’ PRINCIPLE?:Taiwan’s foreign ministry shrugged off the Chinese president’s rhetoric and said it would step up its diplomatic efforts

AFP, BEIJING

Wed, Mar 21, 2018 - Page 1

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday delivered a blistering nationalist speech, warning against any attempts to split China and touting the nation’s readiness to fight “the bloody battle” to regain its rightful place in the world.

Xi’s address capped an annual session of the National People’s Congress that paved the way for him to rule for life, as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong (毛澤東) pushes through his vision of guiding the country through a “new era” of unrivaled global military and economic supremacy.

Days after US President Donald Trump signed new rules allowing top-level US officials to travel to Taiwan, Xi said that Beijing would defend its “one China” principle.

“All acts and tricks to separate the country are doomed to fail and will be condemned by the people and punished by history,” Xi told nearly 3,000 delegates assembled at the Great Hall of the People facing Tiananmen Square.

In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told a news conference that it is a sovereign state’s rightful duty to conduct diplomacy and that other nations should refrain from making critical comments.

“Regardless of how other nations perceive us, we will not let our guard down... All the ministry’s diplomatic work will continue and we will even step up our efforts,” Lee said.

The Mainland Affairs Council also issued a statement accusing Beijing of intensifying “propaganda measures to lure away Taiwan’s talent, funds and technology for its own economic development”

Xi also sought to address concerns about ambitious Chinese development projects abroad, saying they “will not pose a threat to any country.”

“Only those who are accustomed to threatening others will see everyone as a threat,” he said.

China is overseeing a massive global trade infrastructure initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road, drawing interest from nations participating in the investment, but also criticism from others fearing that it mainly serves Beijing’s interests.

Xi’s plan to build a “world-class” military by mid-century has also raised concerns about how it plans to use its increasingly modern forces amid regional frictions over Beijng’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Xi used the speech to espouse his vision of realizing the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” — the “greatest dream” of the world’s second-largest economy.

“The Chinese people have been indomitable and persistent, we have the spirit of fighting the bloody battle against our enemies to the bitter end,” he said.

However, his speech was also a reminder that the Chinese Communist Party, more than ever, reigns over the nation’s affairs.

“History has already proven and will continue to prove that only socialism can save China,” he said.

“The Communist Party is the supreme political leadership of the country and the fundamental guarantee to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Xi said.

Additional reporting by Stacy Hsu