Chinese leader Xi Jinping, speaking at the opening ceremony of the twice-a-decade Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress, vowed to continue strengthening and expanding the Chinese military with new capabilities and more intense training.
Xi — who is the president of China as well as leader of the ruling CCP political party, the head of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the the commander-in-chief of the People’s Liberation Army — gave a nearly two-hour speech on Sunday at the start of the week-long CCP Congress. In his speech, he described the Chinese government’s work under his leadership and his plans for the future as he is expected to be re-elected to another five-year term as CCP party leader.
During his speech, Xi said, “We have set the party’s goal of building a strong military in the New era.”
“We have implemented the party’s thinking on strengthening the military for the new era: follow the military strategies for the new era and upheld absolute party leadership of the people’s Armed Forces,” he said. “We have coordinated efforts to strengthen military working all directions and domains and carried out bold reforms of National Defense. And the people’s Armed Forces now boast new systems, a new structure, a new configuration and a new look.”
Xi said the Chinese military will “establish a strong system of strategic deterrence” in the world by increasing its “new domain forces” and will “intensify military training under combat conditions all around.”
Xi repeatedly highlighted one area of potential focus for the Chinese military, “resolving the Taiwan question.”
While Taiwan has governed itself independently for decades, China considers the island a part of its territory.
Xi said “we will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort” but said “we will never promise to renounce the use of force and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary,” indicating taking control of Taiwan by military force.
Beyond the small neighboring island of Taiwan, Xi described asserting China’s global security interests.
“We will take coordinated steps to ensure external and internal security, homeland and public security, traditional and non-traditional security and our own security and common security,” he said. “We will both uphold national security and create the conditions for ensuring it will strengthen popular support for national security and social stability, improve the mechanisms for our participation in global security governance.”
Under his leadership, Xi said China has “taken a clear-cut stance against hegemonism and power politics in all their forms and we have never wavered in our opposition to unilateralism protectionism and bullying of any kind.”
Xi and other Chinese officials frequently refer to “hegemonism” and “bullying” when describing the U.S. The U.S. frequently challenges China’s territorial claims throughout the South China Sea and broader Indo-Pacific region.
The U.S. has sought to counter China’s expanding territorial claims and influence throughout the Indo-Pacific through alliances, security agreements and partnerships with other nations active in the region. Chinese officials have repeatedly referred to this pattern of alliances counterbalancing against China as a “Cold War” mentality.
“China stands firmly against all forums of hegemonism and power politics and Cold War mentality interference in other countries internal affairs and double standards,” Xi said again later on in the speech.