Xi Jinping warns foreign nations will ‘get their heads bashed’
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And Professor Steve Tsang fears Beijing’s increasing belligerence, especially in relation to Taiwan, has the potential to trigger a potentially disastrous “unintended conflict”. Prof Tsang was talking after an extraordinary speech by Xi Jinping, China’s President, during an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in which he warned foreign forces not to try to “bully” his country.
Xi added: “Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
Prof Tsang, the director of the China Institute at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), told Express.co.uk: “I would not say that Xi used stronger than normal language.
“Instead I would say he used unnecessarily harsh language which will backfire in the outside world.
“But his target audience was domestic and not external, and he enjoyed strong support for his tough words.”
Nevertheless, his speech also sent a clear signal to everyone outside China, Prof Tsang said.
He explained: “They confirm the approach Xi takes towards the rest of the world, which is that they are required to respect China on China’s terms, and if they don’t, they should be prepared to face the consequences, some could be rather unpleasant.
“This approach is worrying, as it means that there is a higher risk that Beijing and Washington will talk past each other and see the other as threatening, and thus needs to be a concern.”
Prof Tsang warned: “The risk of an unintended conflict is higher between China and the USA now and between the USSR and the USA during the Cold War, as the USSR and USA did not have areas that they felt a need to use force to contest.
“Now, China claims Taiwan and Xi expects to take Taiwan and integrate it into China, but Taiwan is a democracy and a major non-NATO ally of the USA, for which an American law (The Taiwan Relations Act) requires the US Government to help Taiwan defend itself should Taiwan’s status be forced to be changed against the will of the people of Taiwan.
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“This is what needs to worry about us, and everyone in the world.
“No one should want to see the USA and China engaged in a military confrontation.”
Speaking yesterday, Xi said: “We will not accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us.
“We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will.”
With specific reference to Taiwan, he said: “No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to define their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Also speaking yesterday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price was asked about a report that China had begun constructing more than 100 new missile silos in a desert area in the western part of the country.
He said: “These reports and other developments suggest that the PRC’s nuclear arsenal will grow more quickly, and to a higher level than perhaps previously anticipated.
“This buildup is concerning. It raises questions about the PRC’s intent.
“And for us, it reinforces the importance of pursuing practical measures to reduce nuclear risks.
“We encourage Beijing to engage with us on practical measures to reduce the risks of destabilising arms races – potentially destabilising tensions.”
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