In a defiant speech to open his third term, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to strengthen his military and take steps toward “reunification” with Taiwan after decades of tensions with the United States over the sovereignty of the small island.
Xi gave the address Monday during the closing ceremony of the National People’s Congress as he said that China must “build the People’s Liberation Army into a great wall of steel that effectively safeguards national sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
“China should work to achieve greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, promote industrial transformation,” he said, outlining his plans after being re-elected to a third five-year term which makes him China’s longest-serving ruler.
Xi’s speech also lashed out at “bullying foreign powers” that were working to stifle the Chinese economy and exert more influence throughout Asia.
“The Chinese people have become the masters of their own destiny,” he said, referring to “reunifying” with Taiwan. “The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical process.”