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Xi says ready for ‘bloody battle’ to protect China

Beijing, Tuesday

President Xi Jinping delivered a blistering nationalist speech today, warning against any attempts to split China and touting the country’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 pushes through his vision of guiding the country through a “new era” of unrivalled global military and economic supremacy.

Days after President Donald Trump signed new rules allowing top-level US officials to travel to Taiwan, Xi warned that Beijing would defend its “one China principle”, which sees the self-ruled island as its territory awaiting reunification.

“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 imposing Great Hall of the People facing Tiananmen Square. Taiwan in response urged China to shelve its mindset of “forceful intimidation” and pursue a breakthrough in cross-strait relations.

The island’s Mainland Affairs Council in a statement accused 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 added in an address that drew waves of applause from the legislators.

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. —AFP

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