Xi Jinping defends zero-Covid & vows to use ‘all necessary measures’ to reunite with Taiwan

He said that China's Covid strategy “won widespread international praise".

Zi Shan Kow | October 16, 2022, 04:26 PM

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Chinese President Xi Jinping defended the country's zero Covid strategy and addressed reunification with Taiwan on Oct. 16.

Xi was speaking at China's 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing, the country's most consequential political gathering that is held every five years.

The 20th CPC national congress kicks off in Beijing today, with the gathering of roughly 2,300 delegates from around the country at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the capital of China.

Xi was delivering a report on behalf of the 19th CPC Central Committee, summarising China's achievements of the past five years and sketching the future for the party and country over the next five years.

Zero Covid strategy

During Xi's 105-minute wide-ranging speech, he listed zero Covid as one of the party's achievements in the past five years, reported SCMP.

Xi reiterated the country's commitment to its "dynamic Zero Covid policy", which he called an "all out people's war to stop the spread of the virus".

He said that China had put "the people and their lives first" and “won widespread international praise" for the way it dealt with the pandemic, according to CNA and The New York Times.

Xi also said that China had "achieved significant positive results in coordinating epidemic prevention and control and social and economic development", reported AFP.

Reunification with Taiwan

On Taiwan, Xi said that the CPC will "unswervingly advance the cause of national reunification", Xinhua reports.

"Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese", he said.

Xi stated that China will do whatever it takes to reunite with Taiwan:

"We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary. This is directed solely at interference by outside forces and the few separatists seeking 'Taiwan independence' and their separatist activities; it is by no means targeted at our Taiwan compatriots".

BBC noted that Xi's remarks on Taiwan prompted sustained applause from delegates. FT also noted that this was one of Xi's speech's biggest applause lines. 

Nonetheless, Xi said the party will always “respect, care and work to benefit compatriots in Taiwan" with economic and cultural exchanges.

He added that China "will encourage people on both sides of the Strait to work together to promote Chinese culture and forge closer bonds".

China's 20th Communist Party Congress

The week-long event is expected to see 69-year-old Xi reappointed a third leadership term, in a break in decades-long tradition.

It will also likely reconfirm Xi as party general secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The party congress will usher in a new 200-member central committee.

The new politburo standing committee, a seven-person leadership team and China's highest decision-making body, will also be introduced.

Xi is also expected to be designated state president for a third time at the next annual session of China's parliament in March.

Top image by Getty Images.