On Korean War anniversary, Xi sends warning to ‘invaders’

Ready to fight: Xi Jinping arriving for a ceremony in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.   | Photo Credit: AFP

China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday invoked the memory of the Korean War on its 70th anniversary to send a warning to any “invaders” that “force must be met with force”.

Mr. Xi, speaking at a meeting to mark the anniversary of what China officially calls “the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea”, said the 1950-53 conflict that saw China intervene on behalf of North Korea served a reminder that China “will never sit back and watch any damage to our national sovereignty” and “will never allow any force to invade or divide the sacred territory of the motherland.”

While the Chinese President did not specifically refer to any of China’s current disputes, Chinese State media have framed the high-profile marking of the anniversary through a number of events in recent days, against the backdrop of deteriorating China-U.S. relations and as sending a message to Washington, even if Mr. Xi’s comments would likely also draw attention in both India and Taiwan amid recent tensions.

“It is necessary to speak to invaders in the language they know, that is, a war must be fought to deter invasion, and force must be met by force,” he was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency. “A victory is needed to win peace and respect.”

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He said “the Chinese nation will never cower before threats, or be subdued by suppression” and called for “fostering the valour of the nation that fears no death” and “the need to promote the national wisdom of keeping to the right path, making innovations, and striving to march forward”.

Taking aim at the Quad

On Friday, the official news agency released a commentary criticising the U.S. in the wake of Australia joining the India-U.S.-Japan Malabar naval exercise set for next month, describing the four-member “Quad” grouping as “a clique flexing muscles in the Asian-Pacific region” and saying the “regional situation should be taken into account when a drill is schemed and the motivation behind it explored”.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday issued a somewhat muted response to the announcement of the exercise, saying China “always believe[s] that military cooperation between countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability.”

The Xinhua commentary issued a sharper response. “After a long-time hiatus, the Quad reconvened in 2017 when the United States proposed the so-called Indo-Pacific strategy on the East Asia cooperation, which, based on an obsolete Cold War mentality, is aimed at stoking geopolitical competition and confrontation so as to contain the region’s development,” it said.

‘Cold War mentality’

The drill, the commentary said, was “a sign that the bloc is mulling military and security cooperation for self-serving political interests”. “The Cold War mentality is as poisonous as history has proven,” it added.

“Asia-Pacific countries should jointly resist such a detrimental mentality and team up to promote peace and development for their own good. Some countries’ attempts to advocate a Cold War mentality and create chaos in the region will only shoot themselves in the foot.”

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 9:14:57 AM |

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