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Nikkei: Xi’s Strong Position on Maritime Rights

Nikkei, Japan’s leading economic news provider, reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping used strong words in his 2017 New Year’s speech televised to the nation, “We have adhered to peaceful development while resolutely safeguarding the territorial sovereignty, maritime rights, and interests of China. To whoever wants to take issue with this, the Chinese people’s answer is a resounding No!”

In reviewing accomplishments in 2016, Xi listed China’s large new radio telescope and space missions and touted remarkable breakthroughs in the reform of national defense and the military. Xi took credit for cracking down on corrupt officials, referred to as both “tigers” and “flies,” in a bid to purify the Chinese political ecosystem.

Chen Kuide, editor-in-chief of China in Perspective, an online news magazine, told Voice of America that, after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Xi faced domestic pressure, including pressure from within the Chinese Communist Party. He therefore had to resort to strong wording, while still adjusting to and waiting for <the time for> dealing with the Trump administration. Chen observed the strong militant atmosphere in China. Nearly every day there are reports on military exercises and new weapons, which is detrimental to Chinese society given its military’s lack of combat capabilities.

Also mentioned in Xi’s annual New Year’s Eve address were his administration’s successful hosting of a G-20 summit, pushing forward with China’s “One Belt One Road” pan-Eurasian infrastructure project, and having established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Xi stated, “Over the past year, 10 million more people across the country have been lifted out of poverty. I would like to pay tribute and express appreciation to the comrades who have worked tremendously in grass root units in fighting poverty. As we greet the New Year, I am most concerned about those who still live in hardship. I wonder how their food supply and accommodations are being maintained and how they are celebrating the New Year and the Spring Festival. I’m aware that some folks are faced with difficulties in employment, their children’s education, medical care, and housing.”

Xi continued, “As long as the Party forever stands with the people and everyone remains mobilized for new endeavors, we will be able to walk the long march of our generation.”

Nikkei, Chinese website, January 3, 2017
VOA Chinese, January 4, 2017
Xinhua News Agency, December 31, 2016