Beijing (dpa) – China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping has called on the military to be constantly on the alert in the face of “instability” and “uncertainties”.
According to state media, Xi Jinping said on Wednesday during a meeting with the military delegation at the annual meeting of the People’s Congress in Beijing. The armed forces should focus on “combat readiness”.
The new five-year plan is a good start to strengthen national defense and armed forces, Xi Jinping said at the meeting the previous day. At the end of the week-long session, the Chinese parliament will approve the course for the years 2021 to 2025 on Thursday, as well as a sharp 6.8 percent increase in military spending this year.
Hong Kong’s controversial electoral reform plans are also being launched. This is intended to further constrain already limited democracy in China’s Special Administrative Region. After the Security Act, which came into effect on July 1, it is the second blow to the liberal system in the autonomous former British crown colony. The law targets activities that Beijing considers subversive, separatist, terrorist, or conspiratorial.
Before the end of the annual meeting, Xi Jinping vowed to the armed forces to meet the new challenges. It’s about building a “high-profile strategic deterrent”. The People’s Liberation Army must “resolutely protect national sovereignty, security and development interests,” the president said. Military development must be driven by innovation and become independent in science and technology.
The expansion of the Chinese military is taking place against a background of mounting tensions with the US and Taiwan, the border incidents with India and the disputes over islands and sea areas in the East China and South China Seas. According to a media report, China and the US are talking about a possible meeting of their top foreign policymakers in Anchorage, Alaska. It would be the first high-level personal contact between the two governments since US President Joe Biden took office in January.
The meeting with the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken could be attended by both the Communist Party’s top foreign politician, Yang Jiechi, and his subordinate Secretary of State Wang Yi, Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported. . With Anchorage, its possible location is halfway between the two countries – far from the attention of international media, the paper emphasized. The location has not yet been determined. Other details are also not yet known.
Under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, the relationship between the two largest economies has fallen to the lowest level since diplomatic relations were established in 1979. Beijing offers a fresh start, but it sets conditions. The US must end its “interference”, including criticism of its dealings with the Uyghurs and Hong Kong. Beijing is also calling for an end to the trade war or support for Taiwan, which is seen as part of the People’s Republic. However, Biden has indicated that he wants to take a hard course with regard to China.