China’s leader Xi Jinping has called for “more rapid raising of the armed forces to world-class standards”, just days after a top diplomat warned of a growing possibility of conflict with the US unless Washington stays on course. does not change
China should maximize its “national strategic capabilities” to deal with strategic risks, safeguard strategic interests and systematically upgrade the country’s overall strength to meet strategic objectives, Xi said on Wednesday. “
His remarks were carried by the official Xinhua news agency to delegates in the ceremonial parliament representing the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party, and the paramilitary People’s Armed Police.
Xi made a series of calls to accelerate the building of self-reliance in science and technology, strengthen strategic capabilities in emergency areas, make industrial and supply chains more resilient, and make national reserves “more capable of safeguarding national security”. series released.
The program laid out by Xi is already underway with several national strategies, including a “Made in China 2025” campaign to make China dominant in 10 key areas from integrated circuits to aerospace, and a decade-long campaign for civil-military integration is included. in the economy.
Xi also mentioned the need to “achieve the goals for the PLA’s centenary year in 2027”, by which, according to some US observers, China intends to have the ability to militarily conquer Taiwan, a US ally. Resource.
China has defined the centennial goals mostly in vague terms, such as greater “informatization” and raising the PLA to “world-class standards”.
China needs to “build a strong system of strategic deterrent forces, increase the presence of combat forces in new domains and new qualities, and deeply promote combat-oriented military training,” according to a speech Xi gave last year .
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned in unusually harsh words that US-China tensions could escalate into something more dire.
In his first news conference after assuming his previous position, Qin said, “If the United States does not hit the brakes but continues on the wrong track, no amount of guardrails can stop the derailment and it will certainly There will inevitably be conflict and confrontation.” Year.
“Such competition is a reckless gamble, involving the fundamental interests of two peoples and even the future of humanity,” he said.
That echoed remarks made by Xi to delegates on Monday that seemed to underscore Chinese frustration with US restrictions on access to the technology and its unusually bluntly worded support for Taiwan and regional military blocs.
“The Western countries, led by the United States, have implemented all-round control, encirclement and repression on China, which has brought unprecedented serious challenges to our country’s development,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, responded by saying that Washington seeks “responsible coexistence” within the global trade and political order and has no intention of suppressing China.
“It is not about containing China. It is not about suppressing China. This is not about holding China back,” Price said in Washington. “We want creative competition that’s fair” and “don’t get into that conflict.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander of the US Southern Command, which is responsible for South America and the Caribbean, testified before the House Armed Services Committee that China and Russia were “malign actors” that “aggressively influence” on our democratic neighbors.
“China is spreading its malign influence, using its economic clout and conducting gray zone activities to expand its military and political reach and influence,” Richardson said.
“This is a strategic risk that we cannot accept or ignore,” she said.
Among other activities, China has built a huge embassy in the Bahamas just 50 miles off the coast of Florida.
“Presence and proximity absolutely matter, and a stable and secure Western Hemisphere is critical to homeland defense,” Richardson said.
On Thursday, Beijing’s foreign ministry dismissed US questions and criticisms of Chinese intentions as an attempt to “make an excuse to pursue its military expansion and hegemony”.
“Before criticizing and blaming other countries, the US, as the sole military superpower, should reflect on what it can do and what it should do,” spokesman Mao Ning told a daily briefing.
Pointing to Sino-US relations having reached their lowest level in decades, he said Washington should “meet China halfway and put Sino-US relations back on a track of sound and steady development, which Beneficial to both countries and the world.”