Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday flagged unification of Taiwan with the mainland as an aspiration in his New Year address, as he highlighted the ruling Communist Party’s achievements, including its recent key meeting that paved the way for his unprecedented third term in power.
The complete reunification of our motherland is an aspiration shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Xi said in his New Year-eve television address to the nation.
His Taiwan reference is considered significant as China has increasingly come under pressure from the US, the European Union and other western countries, who have stepped up support to Taipei, much to Beijing’s chagrin.
China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of the mainland, had ratcheted up tensions by sending over hundreds of military planes into Taiwan’s Air Identification Defence Zone in recent months and conducted military drills close to the island.
My greetings to you all. The year 2022 is approaching. From Beijing, I extend New Year wishes to all of you! , Xi said in his speech.
The past year has been a year of exceptional significance. We have lived through landmark events in the history of our Party and our country, he said.
At the historical convergence of the Two Centenary Goals, we have set out on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects and are making confident strides on the path towards the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation , he added.
Xi, 68, holds all three of China’s power centres General-Secretary of the CPC, Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), which is the overall high command of the military, and the Presidency of which he is set to complete his second five-year tenure next year.
Politically, the meeting is regarded as significant for Xi, who in the last nine years of his tenure in power, has emerged as the most powerful leader after party founder Mao Zedong.
He is widely expected to continue for a third term unlike his predecessor, Hu Jintao, who retired after two terms and perhaps may remain in power for life, in view of a key constitutional amendment passed in 2018, which removed the two-term limit for the Chinese President.
Xi was also appointed core leader’ of the party in 2016, a status previously enjoyed by Mao.
Xi was expected to begin his third five-year term as CPC General Secretary at the party’s once in five-year Congress to be held sometime in the middle of 2022.
In his address, the Chinese President also praised the People’s Liberation Army and the Armed Police for their devotion to building a strong military and protecting our country .