President Xi stresses on military and technological developments in a speech to some 2,000 Chinese Communist Party delegates.

China has the world's second-largest defence budget after the United States and is trying to extend its reach by developing ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and overseas outposts.
China has the world's second-largest defence budget after the United States and is trying to extend its reach by developing ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and overseas outposts. (AP)

China's leader Xi Jinping has called for faster military development and offered little in the way of reconciliation to Washington, which recently imposed sweeping curbs of Beijing's semiconductor ambitions. 

Xi spoke on Sunday as the party opened a congress that was closely watched by companies, governments and the Chinese public for signs of its economic and political direction. 

The People’s Liberation Army needs to “safeguard China’s dignity and core interests,” Xi said, referring to a list of territorial claims and other issues over which Beijing says it is ready to go to war. 

China has the world's second-largest defence budget after the United States and is spending heavily on developing ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and overseas outposts.

“We will work faster to modernise military theory, personnel and weapons,” Xi said in the speech. “We will enhance the military’s strategic capabilities.”

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Tensions over Taiwan

Xi said Beijing will use force if needed to exert its right over Taiwan, which most of the world considers to be an integral part of China. 

In recent months, Chinese fighter jets have flown near the island, raising tensions of a confrontation. 

China's military activity gained pace around the time of a controversial visit by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Taiwan in August. She was the highest-ranked US official to visit Taiwan in a quarter-century.

Unification of the two sides “will be achieved,” Xi said.

Beijing needs to prevent “interference by outside forces,” he said, a reference to foreign politicians Beijing says are encouraging Taiwan to make its de facto independence permanent, a step that Chinese leadership says would lead to war.

“We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification,” Xi said. “But we will never promise to renounce the use of force. And we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary.”

Former president Donald Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports in 2019. Trump's successor, Joe Biden, has kept those penalties in place and this month increased restrictions on Chinese access to US chip technology.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies