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China raises military spending, calls on army to ‘boost combat readiness’

China will “resolutely” fight against Taiwan’s “independence” and “for the reunification of the motherland,” according to the government action report read out Sunday by outgoing Premier Li Keqiang at the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC, Legislative).

“We have to implement the Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy on the Taiwan issue, that is, resolutely fight against its ‘independence’ and for the reunification of the motherland,” Li said during the speech.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei deteriorated last summer following a visit to the island by then U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which raised cross-strait tensions to unprecedented highs in years.

“We will promote a peaceful development of cross-strait relations in order to foster a process of peaceful reunification. We will promote economic and cultural cooperation between the two sides and enhance policies aimed at improving the welfare of Taiwan compatriots,” he added. All, according to Li, “in order to promote actions on both sides for the enhancement of Chinese culture”.

According to its report, the CCP is already waging “an important struggle against secession” in Taiwan and against “interference”, in apparent reference to the United States, a country that Beijing criticizes for interfering in its internal affairs with regard to Taiwan, a territory that China claims as its own.

Taiwan, with which the US does not maintain official relations, is one of the major sources of conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its greatest military ally in the event of a war with the Asian giant.

China announced Sunday that it will increase its defense spending by 7.2% this year to 1.55 trillion yuan ($224.384 billion) after the item grew by 7.1% in 2022, according to a report to be reviewed in the coming days by the PNA.

In his speech, Li asserted that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) must “boost its combat readiness and military capabilities to achieve the tasks mandated by the Party.”

“The Chinese armed forces need to intensify their training and readiness, develop new military strategic guidelines” or “strengthen military work in all directions and domains.”

Li also asserted that China will remain “committed to an independent and peaceful foreign policy.”

“We will continue our strategy of openness for mutual benefit, and we will continue to work to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development and maintain international order,” he said.

The Global Security Initiative is a project announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2022 that opposes the use of sanctions on the international stage or what Beijing considers “unilateralism,” or “bloc-to-bloc confrontation.”

-Thailand News (TN)

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