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Xi warns ‘invaders’ as China marks Korean War

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, presides over a work symposium on the rise of the central region and delivers a speech in Nanchang, May 21, 2019, during his inspection tour of Jiangxi Province. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Oct 23, 2020, AFP. President Xi Jinping issued a sharp warning on Friday to potential “invaders” of Beijing’s military resolve, speaking on the 70th anniversary of his nation’s entry into the Korean War, the only time Chinese forces have fought US rivals, RTHK reported.

In a long speech, heavy on patriotism and flecked by anecdotes of heroism by Chinese forces, Xi said victory in the 1950-53 conflict was a reminder that his nation stood ready to fight anyone “creating trouble… on China’s doorstep”.

Beijing frequently uses war anniversaries to fire thinly covered warnings to the US of the military strength of the “new China”.

The Korean War is a key foundation story for the ruling Communist Party, which in recent years has been the target of US President Donald Trump, in a bitter row spanning trade, tech, human rights and the status of Taiwan, which China says is an inviolable part of the mainland.

“Chinese people don’t create troubles, nor are we afraid of them,” Xi said to applause.

“We will never sit back and watch any damage to our national sovereignty… and we will never allow any force to invade or divide the sacred territory of the motherland.”

The Korean War was the first and so far only time Chinese and US forces have engaged in large-scale direct combat.

According to the Chinese government, more than 197,000 Chinese soldiers died during the three-year war, which saw the US-led United Nations coalition pushed back to the 38th parallel bisecting the Korean Peninsula, after China weighed in on the side of North Korea’s communist army.

With tensions again running high between Beijing and Washington, China is making much of the 70th anniversary of its forces entering the fight, intended as much for domestic consumption as it is a warning to its superpower rivals.

Chinese state media have unleashed a wave of propaganda with daily interviews with Chinese veterans who survived the war during prime-time news over the past week.

An action-thriller “Sacrifice”, directed by three of the biggest names in Chinese cinema and depicting a small band of Chinese troops holding off US forces in the final days of the war hit cinemas across the country on Friday.

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