China’s Xi calls for military growth as party congress opens
Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Sunday called for faster military development and announced no change in policies that have strained relations with Washington and tightened the ruling Communist Party's control over society and the economy.
China's most influential figure in decades spoke as the party opened a congress that was closely watched by companies, governments and the public for signs of official direction. It comes amid a painful slump in the world's second-largest economy and tension with Washington and Asian neighbors over trade, technology and security.
Party plans call for creating a prosperous society by mid-century and restoring China to its historic role as a political, economic and cultural leader. Beijing has expanded its presence abroad including a multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to build ports and other infrastructure across Asia and Africa, but economists warn reversing market-style reform could hamper growth.
"The next five years will be crucial," Xi said in a televised speech of one hour and 45 minutes to some 2,000 delegates in the cavernous Great Hall of the People. He repeatedly invoked his slogan of the "rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," which includes reviving the party's role as economic and social leader in a throwback to what Xi regards as a golden age after it took power in 1949.
The congress will install leaders for the next five years. Xi, 69, is expected to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as general secretary and promote allies who share his enthusiasm for party dominance.
The party's military wing, 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...
- Log in to post comments