Xi invokes Chinese military might with US in mind
Beijing: President Xi Jinping issued a sharp warning Friday to potential “invaders” of Beijing’s military resolve, speaking on the 70th anniversary of his nation’s entry into the Korean War, the only time Chinese forces have fought US rivals. In a long speech, heavy on patriotism and flecked by anecdotes of heroism by Chinese forces, Xi said victory in the 1950-53 conflict was a reminder that his nation stood ready to fight anyone “creating trouble… on China’s doorstep”. Beijing frequently uses war anniversaries to fire thinly covered warnings to the US of the military strength of the “new China”. The Korean War is a key foundation story for the ruling Communist Party, which in recent years has been the target of US President Donald Trump, in a bitter row spanning trade, tech, human rights and the status of Taiwan, which China says is an inviolable part of the mainland. “Chinese people don’t create troubles, nor are we afraid of them,” Xi said to applause. “We will never sit back and watch any damage to our national sovereignty… and we will never allow any force to invade or divide the sacred territory of the motherland.” On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced it had agreed to sell over one billion dollars’ worth of missiles to self-governing Taiwan, the sharpest potential flashpoint with US forces. ‘Sacrifice’ The Korean War was the first and so far only time Chinese and US forces have engaged in large-scale direct combat. According to the Chinese government, more than 197,000 Chinese soldiers died during the three-year war, which saw the US-led United Nations coalition pushed back to the 38th parallel bisecting the Korean Peninsula, after China weighed in on the side of North Korea’s communist army. With tensions again running high between Beijing and Washington, China is making much of the 70th anniversary of its forces entering the fight, intended as much for domestic consumption as it is a warning to its superpower rivals. – AFP �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������