This statement came amid heightened tensions over Taiwan after the communist regime concluded military exercises around the island. The United States and its allies watched the exercises closely as their global strategic and economic interests are on the line.
Xi made the comment during his visit to see Chinese naval troops stationed in the southern province of Guangdong, an area directly facing the South China Sea and Taiwan. Both areas would be on the front line in the event of a hot war between the nations.
The Chinese president had also urged troops to deepen military training in preparation and take the Chinese military modernization to the next level.
Xi added that China must be "innovative in its concepts and methods of combat."
The Chinese leader reportedly made the defense of Beijing's territorial sovereignty and maritime interests as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's core mission, in addition to the protection of overall peripheral stability.
Beijing considers the fully democratic island of Taiwan to be an inalienable part of its territory that has been taken over by separatists. It is also accusing the U.S. of meddling in its domestic affairs and encouraging so-called "secessionist" politicians, including current Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, who has routinely tried to assert her country's sovereignty and independence without actually claiming that she supports the creation of an independent Republic of Taiwan.
While the Chinese leadership is insisting that it wants a peaceful "reunification" with Taiwan, it has not ruled out military options. (Related: China will not hesitate to use FORCE to retake Taiwan, warns Xi.)
Beijing warned that Taiwanese independence and cross-strait peace were "mutually exclusive" while blaming Taipei and some "foreign forces" for deliberately stoking tensions in the region.
The communist government has also condemned the plan of U.S. forces to use an increasing number of bases in the Philippines, including one close to Taiwan.
The U.S. and the Philippines are currently holding their biggest-ever joint military drills, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has committed to "standing with the Philippines against any intimidation or coercion, including in the South China Sea."
China claims sovereignty over nearly the whole South China Sea – a strategic seaway through which trillions of dollars in trade pass yearly – in spite of an international court ruling that the declaration has no legal basis.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all have overlying claims in the sea, while the U.S. deploys naval vessels through it to declare the freedom of navigation rights in international waters.
While Blinken commits to defending the Philippines, Washington remains deliberately obscure on whether or not it would defend Taiwan militarily. Nevertheless, it continues to sell arms to Taiwan to help bolster its ability to defend itself.
Washington still adheres to the "One-China" principle, but maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan.
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