China will never seek “aggression or expansion” but will not allow anyone to “split its territory”, President Xi Jinping asserted on Tuesday as he lauded the Army’s strong resolve to protect the country’s sovereignty and defeat “all invasions” amid territorial disputes with its neighbours.
“No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit that is harmful to our sovereignty, security or development interests,” Xi said as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is engaged in a standoff with Indian troops at Doklam in the Sikkim section since mid-June.
Though there was no direct reference to the Sikkim standoff, Xi urged the PLA to focus on war preparedness to forge an elite and powerful force that is always “ready for the fight, capable of combat and sure to win”.
“There are various means and choices to safeguard peace and security and prevent war, but military means should remain the final guarantee,” he said.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at the ceremony to mark the 90th founding anniversary of the 2.3 million strong PLA, the world’s largest standing army.
He said China would never allow “any people, organisation or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form.”
“The Chinese people love peace. We will never seek aggression or expansion, but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions,” Xi, 64, said at the ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People attended by Premier Li Keqiang and other top leaders of the ruling Communist Party and army officials.
This is the second time in three days that Xi spoke of the PLA’s capability to thwart invasions.