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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Xi wants stronger defence

BEIJING: President Xi Jinping said China should strengthen its frontier defences on land and sea, state media reported amid territorial disputes with neighbouring nations which have accused Bei­jing of being increasingly aggressive in pressing its claims.

Xi made the remarks at a “national meeting” on Friday also attended by Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

In his remarks on the defence of China’s borders, Xi said the country’s weakness in the past had allowed others to bully it.

“Foreign aggressors broke China’s land and sea defence for hundreds of times, plunging the Chinese nation into the abyss of calamity, Xi added, calling on the people not to forget the history of humiliation and to build a strong frontier,” the report said.

“Xi urged China’s frontier defenders to meticulously monitor over and control the frontier and to mount actions to defend the country’s maritime right, while implementing an overall national security outlook.”

The nationalistic-tinged comments reported by Xinhua are Xi’s latest calling for a tougher stance.

Since becoming China’s leader during a once-a-decade power transition that lasted from November 2012 until March 2013, Xi has called for the country to boost its military into a force that can “win battles”.

Other officials, such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi, also stress that China will fiercely defend territory it considers its own, but insist the country poses no threat to others.

Xi’s reference to frontiers comes as China is engaged in occasionally tense maritime disputes over territory with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

On land, China has a long-standing dispute with India. And Beijing has also blamed what it calls foreign-based “religious extremists” for fomenting terrorism in its largely Muslim far-western region of Xinjiang. — AFP

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