China will continue a “fighting” approach to diplomacy with a “rock-hard resolve to safeguard sovereignty”, officials said on Thursday during the week-long Communist Party Congress in Beijing.
Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping, at the opening of the congress on Sunday, had warned of “drastic changes in the international landscape” amid “external attempts to blackmail, contain, blockade and exert maximum pressure on China” and said China had “shown a fighting spirit”.
Mr. Xi is set to begin a third five-year term after the conclusion of the Congress on Saturday, and the new members set to join him on the Politburo will be unveiled on Sunday after the first meeting of the new Central Committee.
“Chinese diplomacy will continue to display fighting spirit, improve our ability to fight, always stand ready at the frontline to protect our national interest and dignity,” Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters in a press conference on China’s diplomatic agenda in the next five years, speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing congress.
“Our resolve to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation will be rock hard and unshakable,” he said.
Mr. Ma specifically only mentioned relations with the U.S., Russia and EU. He also hit out, without directly naming the U.S., at “some forces bent on putting together small circles” and “stoking block-based confrontation” which “represents the biggest threat to the world order”.
Chinese officials have in the past referred to groupings such as AUKUS (Australia-U.K.-U.S.) and the Quad (India-U.S.-Australia-Japan) as “small circles”.
Mr. Xi is expected to travel to Indonesia next month, early in his third term, for a state visit as well as the G20 summit, which Prime Minister Modi will also attend. Mr. Ma didn’t confirm the trip but said China would support hosts Indonesia.
Also during the congress, Chen Liu, a delegate from the PLA, said China’s stealth fighter the J20 was now “active” in all five theatre commands of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), including the Western Command bordering India.