China sends stern warning via commemoration of war it won against the US 70 years ago in Korea
Published: Oct 23, 2020 03:52 PM Updated: Oct 24, 2020 04:22 PM

A meeting marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Volunteers entering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to fight in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea is held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 23, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Almost at the same time, while the world was focused on the theatrical presidential debate in the US, across the Pacific Ocean was a grand ceremony on Friday celebrating China's victory in a war against US aggression in Korea 70 years ago. There, Chinese President Xi Jinping mounted a scathing denunciation of forces that seek to contain China's development and issued a stern warning that the Chinese people were not to be trifled with, and any aggression against China would be dealt with head-on.

President Xi said Friday that Chinese people will never sit idly by while China's sovereignty, security and development interests are undermined, and if such situations occur, "they will certainly deal with them head-on."

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a meeting commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) army's entry into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. 

Chinese analysts said Xi's remarks on Friday were similar to China's warning to the US before the US-led "UN forces" crossed the 38th parallel in 1950, showing the current tension between the two countries is also approaching the brink of conflict, and if the US fails to avoid a new conflict with China, it would be the US that bears the full responsibility, just like the war 70 years ago.

At that time, Chinese leaders made the most difficult decision in New China's short history to send Chinese troops to assist North Korea and protect its own homeland, and to fight the most powerful country in the world, while China was working to rebuild the country from the ruins of its own civil war. But when China's security, sovereignty and development interests are threatened, no matter 70 years ago or now, China and its people will not hesitate to fight back and defeat all invaders, said Chinese experts.  

Loud & clear warning

Xi also quoted late leader Mao Zedong's remarks as saying that the Chinese people cannot be trifled with; and it is not easy to stop them once they are riled up.

It is necessary to speak to invaders in the language they know: that is, a war must be fought to deter invasion, and violence must be stopped by violence, Xi said, adding that a victory is essential for winning peace and respect. 

Xi said that China will never seek hegemony nor expansion, and is firmly opposed to hegemony and power politics.

Pursuing unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism leads nowhere. Blackmail, blockades and maximum pressure will simply not work at all. Any act of hegemony and bullying won't work anywhere, "And not just won't work, all of these will eventually lead to the dead end," Xi said. 

Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times that, "this is an extremely clear message to the US led by the Trump administration."

Apart from the warning, China is also sending advice to the future leaders of the US, no matter who becomes president eventually, urging them to stop provocations and other hostile acts and return to cooperation and exchanges. The US still has a chance to avoid repeating its mistakes of arrogance and hegemony made in 1950, Lü said.

"Whether in 1950 or 2020, US policymakers and political elites fail to understand China's strategic transparency and would easily misinterpret China's solemn warning as 'bluffing'. When China believes its rivals won't listen to its warnings, its first strike would be quiet and invisible, its enemies won't get another ultimatum before they receive a counterattack from China," he said.

Xi said the great War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea defied the invasion and expansion motives of imperialism and safeguarded the security of New China.

The war also safeguarded the peaceful life of the Chinese people, stabilized the situation on the Korean Peninsula and upheld peace in Asia and the world, Xi said.

Xi said the great victory of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea will be forever etched in the history of the Chinese nation and the history of peace, development and progress of humankind. 

Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times that this is the first war that the People's Republic of China was compelled to fight in order to safeguard international justice and national security.

The war's spirit is still relevant in today's world with increasing strategic instability, mounting risks of war and rampant hegemony of the US, Yang said. 

"Peace is not to be begged for; it is to be maintained by upholding justice and daring to fight. By carrying forward the spirit of the past, we can preserve the peace that is more precious to us today," Yang said.

"Currently, the situation in the West Pacific and Asia is getting more and more similar to the 1950 situation before the war. China has been under heavy strategic pressures from multiple directions and the US is a key source of all tensions," Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times

Therefore, stressing the importance of inheriting the spirit of the war that China won against the US 70 years ago has irreplaceable value and significance when dealing with the challenges of today, Zheng noted.

"Xi's speech indicated that China firmly closed a door of unilateralism and extreme pressure, but has kept the door of multilateralism  and dialogue wide open," Yang said.

"Hopefully, the two candidates of the US presidential election will receive the message clearly, and it is not too late to fix bilateral ties after they get elected. If their decision-making is hijacked by a small group of anti-China conservative extremists, however, it would be a disaster for the US," Lü further said.

Development and security

Chinese analysts said Xi highlighted the significance of social and economic development in his speech out of the current complicated global environment and importance of China's development. 

A day ahead of Xi's speech, authorities announced that China is mulling amendments to its Law on National Defense amid profound changes in the world over the past two decades by adding key formulations, including threats to the country's development interests, as reasons for defense mobilization, and involvement in global security governance.

Xi said Friday that throughout the war, China proved, once again, that justice will eventually defeat hegemony, and peace and development are only unstoppable trends of history.

Yang said the significance of national defense security for economic development is more prominent today amid the increasing risks of war and strategic instability.

The present era is actually passing through a period of transformation in terms of the international order held since 1945, and every time the international order changes, it often leads to war, he said. 

China's development also requires stronger national security as a guarantee, and the increasingly deep integration of China's economy into globalization sets higher requirements on national defense security, Yang said.

China stressed its peaceful development, and highlighted it will not seek hegemony as some Western countries have claimed in an attempt to deliberately smear and demonize it, Yang said.

Nationwide commemoration  

On Friday morning, flowers baskets were presented at the CPV martyrs' cemetery in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, and the Memorial Tower commemorating the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, in the city of Dandong, bordering North Korea, on Friday.

On October 19, 1950, as requested by the DPRK, hundreds of thousands of CPV forces crossed the Yalu River, the China-DPRK border, to aid in the fight in the peninsula. The CPV launched and won its first battle on October 25 against a battalion of South Korean troops. In 1951, the Communist Party of China Central Committee decided to commemorate the war annually on the date of October 25.

A blockbuster movie to commemorate the war - Sacrifice - which is expected to break the record for the Chinese box office in 2020, was also released on Friday, with observers predicting that the movie's box office will surpass 100 million yuan ($15 million) on its first day.

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