China’s President Xi Jinping signaled there would be no swift easing of his zero-Covid policy as a historic Communist Party congress opened in Beijing on Sunday. He also warned against foreign interference in Taiwan and stated that China will ‘never promise to renounce force’
At the end of the week-long congress that began on Sunday morning, Xi, 69, is poised to win a third leadership term, solidifying his position as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.
Little was stated by Xi regarding Covid other than a reiteration of the propriety of a strategy that has made China an international outlier as the rest of the world attempts to coexist with the coronavirus.
“We have adhered to the supremacy of the people and the supremacy of life, adhered to dynamic zero-Covid … and achieved major positive results in the overall prevention and control of the epidemic, and economic and social development,” Xi said.
Many residents, as well as international, were hoping that China would abandon or soften its stringent zero-Covid policy, which has severely disrupted daily life and caused a heavy blow to the world’s second-largest economy during the past three years.
In his extensive speech on Sunday, Xi also made it clear that China is committed to reuniting with Taiwan, a self-governed island that Beijing considers part of its territory. He warned that China could respond to “interference by outside forces” on the Taiwan issue by “taking all measures necessary.”
“We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort,” Xi said in Chinese, according to an official translation. “But, we will never promise to renounce the use of force. And we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary.”