Editorial: Will Xi intensify hegemonic stance via economic, military strength?

The country's objective of building up its military strength and becoming dominant in the world as a "great power" has been established. But isn't it nothing but hegemonism to assert that the country will make light of such universal values as the rule of law and instead rely more on strength?

Held once every five years, the Communist Party of China's National Congress opened, and the party's general secretary, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a speech.

Delivering the political report, which summarizes the party's achievements during his first five-year term and presents policies for the years ahead, Xi declared that the party will build a "great modern socialist country" by 2049, the centenary of the country's founding. He also said emphatically that China "will become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence."

China can be said to have clearly shown its posture of rivaling the international order led by the United States and European countries since the end of World War II.

Xi previously created the slogan, "Fulfilling the great renaissance of the Chinese race." There can be no mistake that China is aiming for economic and military powers equal to those of the United States.

Not to be overlooked is that Xi has cited his country's building of artificial islands and converting them into military facilities in the South China Sea as "achievements."

Threats cannot be tolerated

In July last year, an international arbitration tribunal categorically denied Beijing's claims of territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea. Beijing cannot be allowed, under the name of building "maritime power," to positively assess its movements threatening the rules of freedom of navigation.

Regarding Taiwan, Xi said his party has the resolve to "defeat separatist attempts in any form," showing off his hard-line stance.

The administration led by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has not accepted the "one China" principle, which sees Taiwan as part of China. The Xi administration in January sailed the country's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through waters around the Taiwan Strait. It will likely continue exerting military coercion in the days ahead as well.

Since the Xi administration was inaugurated, it has become routine for Chinese government vessels to enter Japan's territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. In cooperation with the United States and Southeast Asian countries, Japan must demand that China stop such actions that destabilize the region.

Xi has said his country will build a "world-class military" by the middle of this century. He has also set forth a policy of propelling further the "One Belt, One Road" mega economic zone project. The acceleration of a plan for building a rich country with a strong army would be contradictory to his own remark that "China's development does not pose a threat to any other country."

It is obvious that Xi, who consolidated in his first term the system of his being the "sole dominant leader," is attempting to gain prestige equal to that of both Mao Zedong - the founding father of China - and Deng Xiaoping, who led China's reform and open door policy. The prevailing view is that he will remain in power even after the usual two five-year terms in office.

China has made it a rule to practice collective leadership, due to its history of being thrown into turmoil by the excessive concentration of power on Mao. It is feared that autocracy and social repression may advance under the Xi administration.

— Yomiuri Shimbun


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