Chinese President Xi Jinping marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of the military arm of the ruling Communist Party with a declaration that his country will never surrender any of its territory to outside forces.
“We will never allow any people, organization, or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form,” Xi vowed in a speech Tuesday to an audience of Communist Party officials and high-ranking officers of the People's Liberation Army at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit that is harmful to our sovereignty, security or development interests,” Xi added.
China is involved in numerous territorial disputes beyond its borders, especially throughout the South China Sea, where it has transformed several artificial islands and reefs into military installations, ignoring competing claims from its Asia-Pacific neighbors. Beijing also claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, and has threatened to use force to bring it under its control.
In addition, China is currently engaged in tense a standoff with India over a Chinese road-building project in the eastern Himalayas in an area claimed by both Beijing and Bhutan — a close ally of India.
China's People Liberation Army is in the midst of an ambitious modernization program under Xi's leadership, adding new technology and aircraft carriers to put it on par with the United States. Xi presided over a large military parade Sunday at the remote Zhurihe training base in China's Inner Mongolia region.