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19 Oct, 2017 00:26

Xi vows to modernize army & prevent meddling in China’s affairs in landmark speech

Xi vows to modernize army & prevent meddling in China’s affairs in landmark speech

China will not tolerate meddling in the domestic affairs of any nation and anything undermining its own interests, according to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The leader has vowed to turn the People’s Army into a “world class force” in 30 years.

Xi was on Wednesday addressing more than 2,000 party delegates of the Chinese Communist Party gathering held once every five years, the country’s most significant political event.

During his three-hour speech, Xi said the country’s military will be fully modernized by 2035 and will become “world-class armed forces” by 2050.

China “will build a powerful and modernized army, navy, air force, rocket force, and strategic support force, develop strong and efficient joint operations commanding institutions for theater commands, and create a modern combat system with distinctive Chinese characteristics,” Xi announced.

The Chinese President also warned that “no one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests.”

He added that China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion "no matter what stage of development it reaches."

"We endeavor to uphold international fairness and justice, and oppose acts that impose one's will on others or interfere in the internal affairs of others, as well as the practice of the strong bullying the weak," he said.

The president also touched upon the issue of Taiwan, a sore point for Chinese domestic affairs. Xi yet again ruled out any secession of the island from mainland China, vowing to offer equal opportunities for the mainland residents and the Taiwanese people.

"Recognize the historical fact of the 1992 Consensus and that the two sides both belong to one China, and then our two sides can conduct dialogue to address through discussion the concerns of the people of both sides,” the president said.

"We will never allow anyone, any organization, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China," he stated.

Tensions between Taipei and Beijing remain high as Taiwan has been pushing for its formal recognition and the mainland insists on the “one China” principle, considering it part of a single China.

In May, Taiwan conducted live-fire drills aimed at fending off potential Chinese attacks. Meanwhile, the US signed a $1.4 billion arms deal with Taipei, which outraged Beijing. The move runs contrary to US president Donald Trump’s promise to respect the “One China” policy during an April meeting with his Chinese counterpart.

READ MORE: Beijing sends frigate & jets to warn off US destroyer near disputed South China Sea islands

Washington and Beijing also repeatedly face off near disputed islands in the South China Sea, where the countries send their national naval and air forces from time to time. The US continues to send the ships to the area citing “freedom of navigation.” China sees that as provocation harming its sovereignty and security interests.