Five key takeaways from Xi Jinping’s Korean war anniversary speech

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President Xi Jinping delivered an assertive and nationalistic speech on Friday to mark 70 years since more than 2 million Chinese troops entered the 1950-53 Korean war to help North Korea fight US-led United Nations and South Korean forces. His remarks on the war to “resist US aggression and aid Korea” took aim at the United States, and come amid a deepening rift between the two countries.

Here are the key points of his address at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing:

Those who stand against the international community will be ‘battered’

While Xi did not directly refer to the present-day United States, he repeatedly said it was a remarkable achievement for China and North Korea to defeat American troops.

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“Seventy years ago, the imperialist invaders fired upon the doorstep of a new China. The Chinese people understood that you must use the language that invaders can understand – to fight war with war and to stop an invasion with force, earning peace and respect through victory,” he said.

“The Chinese people will not create trouble but nor are we afraid of them, and no matter the difficulties or challenges we face, our legs will not shake and our backs will not bend.”

In a clear jab at the US, he also said that “any country and any army, no matter how powerful they used to be” would see their actions “battered” if they stood against the international community.

Patriotic spirit and heroism of the troops

The president hailed the patriotic spirit and heroism of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army troops deployed to the Korean peninsula.

“The great war to resist the aggression of the US and aid North Korea has resisted imperialist aggression and expansion, safeguarded the security of the new China, safeguarded the peaceful life of the Chinese people, stabilised the situation on the Korean peninsula, and maintained peace in Asia and the world,” Xi said.

Xi Jinping hailed the millions of Chinese People’s Volunteer Army troops who fought in the Korean war. Photo: Handout
Xi Jinping hailed the millions of Chinese People’s Volunteer Army troops who fought in the Korean war. Photo: Handout

Chinese people ‘are not to be trifled with’

The president said China would never allow its sovereignty, security and development interests to be undermined. And that any act of unilateralism, monopolism and bullying would not work, and would only lead to a dead end.

“Let the world know that the people of China are now united, and are not to be trifled with,” he said.

Korean war shows how an underdog China can win in armed conflict against US: Chinese general

China ‘must build a world-class military’

Xi also called for efforts to accelerate the modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army.

“China must push forward and speed up the pace of modernisation of national defence and the military, and it must build a world-class military,” he said. “Without a strong army, there can be no strong motherland.”

And a warning to pro-independence forces

Emphasising Beijing’s determination to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity, Xi issued a warning to pro-independence forces.

“We would never allow anyone or any force to invade and divide the sacred territory of our motherland,” he said, adding that if “such a serious situation occurs” it will be dealt with “head-on”.

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