Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized security and stability as the foundation of a flourishing country in the first speech of his monumental third term. On Monday, Jinping delivered an address at the closing of the annual Parliament meeting in which he vowed to bolster the Chinese military and transform it into a “great wall of steel."
“(We must) build the People’s Liberation Army into a great wall of steel that effectively safeguards national sovereignty, security, and development interests,” he said, as almost 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress (NPC) broke into applause at the Great Hall of the People. “Security is the foundation for development, stability is the prerequisite for prosperity,” he added.
The leader kicked off his speech by thanking his supporters for helping him seek a third term, a milestone that Communist China has witnessed for the first time since its founding in 1949. “This is my third time assuming the lofty position as President. The trust of the people is the biggest driving force for me to move forward, and also a heavy responsibility on my shoulders,” he said, according to CNN.
Jinping's speech touched upon various issues, including the need to retrieve self-governing Taiwan as part of the Chinese territory. He said that the “essence” of rejuvenation is “national unification,” and therefore, “reunifying” Taipei with Beijing is imperative.
While Jinping's speech focused mostly on security and development, what stood out was his goals for the military, a sector that China heavily invests in. This year, the annual military budget was increased by 7.2% to about 1.55 trillion yuan amid increasing geopolitical challenges and conflict. Just last week, he slammed the West, including the United States, for trying to “contain and suppress” China and posing “unprecedented severe challenges" to it.