President Xi Jinping Pledges to Build a Military “Great Wall of Steel” to Protect China’s Interests

China’s President Xi Jinping has pledged to strengthen the country’s military and security in his 1st Presidential speech for the third term.

President Xi Jinping addressed Monday’s National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliamentary session. With tensions between China and the West at their lowest point in decades, Xi pledged to strengthen China’s security and build a military to protect its interests. Xi, who secured an unprecedented third term as president, thanked the nearly 3,000 delegates for his unanimous re-election last week.

In his speech, Xi expressed his commitment to “building the military into a great wall of steel” to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests. He emphasized the importance of balancing development and security, saying that safety is the foundation of development and stability is the prerequisite for prosperity.

Xi’s focus on security comes when relations with the US are strained. During the congress, China’s new foreign minister warned that Washington’s efforts to contain China’s interests could lead to “conflict and confrontation” between the two superpowers. Tensions over Taiwan, which China claims sovereignty over but has never ruled and threatened to subjugate by force, have also escalated. Xi stated his commitment to resolving the Taiwan issue but reiterated his opposition to external interference and Taiwan independence separatist activities.

In addition, Xi strengthened the science and technology ministry to promote research advancements and compete with the West in achieving self-reliance and strength in science and technology. He emphasized the importance of developing domestic capabilities and reducing dependence on foreign technology.

Xi said in his third time presidential sermon,

“With the founding of the Communist Party of China and after a century of struggle, our national humiliation has been erased, and the Chinese people have become the masters of their own destiny,” He added more,

“The Chinese nation’s great revival is on an irreversible path.”

In his first press conference as Beijing’s number two, newly appointed premier Li Qiang struck a more conciliatory tone, emphasizing the close economic ties between China and the US and their mutual benefits.

Number 2 Li Qinang said in his speech,

“Some have been trumpeting the idea of decoupling with China, but I wonder how many people can truly benefit from this hype,” Li added more,

“Encirclement and suppression are in no one’s interest.”

Li Qinang also aimed to ease the concerns of China’s business community, which was severely impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns last year. He also sought to dispel worries that the government may move towards a more state-controlled economy. His words were,

“Governments at all levels should make friends with entrepreneurs, build a friendly business environment and care about private entrepreneurs,”

The premier acknowledged that businesses are still recovering and achieving the country’s 5% economic growth target for the year will be challenging. He stated that it would require doubling the efforts. His words about economic growth were as the following,

“Emphasis will be placed on ensuring stable growth, stable prices and stable jobs,”

The week-long meetings in Beijing ended on Monday after President Xi successfully implemented extensive reforms to the country’s financial regulatory system. Despite the ongoing property crisis at home and increasing geopolitical tension, Xi maintained continuity among his top financial regulators. He decided to keep the central bank governor Yi Gang in his position and retained the finance and commerce ministers.

Written by Muhammad Tanveer