China’s Xi vows to build up military into a ‘great wall of steel’ against US

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged to build his military “into a great wall of steel” as rivalry with the U.S. heats up amid fears of a new cold war.

The remark came Monday in Xi’s first speech since being sworn in for an unprecedented third term in office during the annual Chinese Communist Party meeting, the Washington Post reported.

Xi said he would “build the military into a great wall of steel that effectively safeguards national sovereignty, security and our development interests,” and added that “safety is the foundation of development, and stability is the prerequisite for prosperity.”

He said that the “Chinese nation’s great revival is on an irreversible path.”

“With the founding of the Communist Party of China … and after a century of struggle, our national humiliation has been erased, and the Chinese people have become the masters of their own destiny,” he said.

Three days before these comments, the Chinese congress rubber-stamped Xi’s third term as president, the latest step that has made Xi China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

The statements also came on the heels of Xi making uncommonly pointed remarks directed at the U.S. that echoed the language of the Cold War.

“Western countries—led by the U.S.—have implemented all-round containment, encirclement and suppression against us, bringing unprecedentedly severe challenges to our country’s development,” he reportedly said during a meeting at the annual CCP gathering.

U.S. relations with China have been souring for years, but have recently hit dramatic lows, particularly over Taiwan, a self-governing island China claims as its own, and the Chinese spy balloon that flew over the U.S. in February. 

Biden has maintained that he seeks competition, not conflict, with China, saying in a recent public address: “We’re not looking for a new Cold War.”