General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping continued his harsh rhetoric on international diplomacy this week, urging the nation’s envoys to form a “diplomatic iron army.”
Speaking Friday at a gathering of Chinese diplomats and ambassadors in Beijing, Xi took a militant tone as he urged the ministers to keep China’s development foremost in their mind and safeguard national interests against encroaching Western powers.
“It is necessary to […] resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, with an attitude of readiness to fight and a firm will to defy strong powers,” Xi said, according to state-owned news outlet Xinhua.
Xi lamented what he called “escalating oppression and containment of China by external forces” in his speech, urging Chinese diplomats to “put discipline and rules first” to “build a diplomatic iron army loyal to the party, brave in taking responsibilities, daring to fight and being good at fighting.”
The notably defense-minded rhetoric comes just a day after his speech at the nation’s Central Conference on Foreign Affairs Work, where he boasted of increasingly Chinese cultural power domestically and abroad.
The Chinese president said Thursday, “We have showcased distinct Chinese characteristics, style and ethos in our diplomacy, and established the image of a confident, self-reliant, open and inclusive major country with a global vision.”
“[The envoys] must be good at making friends widely and deeply, and winning people’s hearts and minds should be done during official occasions and also deeply among the masses,” Xi said in the same speech.
Top-level U.S.-Chinese communications were re-established last week after months of antagonism and pointed silence.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. spoke Thursday morning with General Liu Zhenli — chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission in the People’s Liberation Army.
“We’ve been clear about the importance of opening lines of military to military communications with the PRC at the senior most levels. However, it’s just one step, an important step, but it’s not the last step,” a senior U.S. official told Fox News of the call.