CHINESE President Xi Jinping marked the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) yesterday with a warning to separatist groups.
“The Chinese people treasure peace and we absolutely do not engage in invasion and expansion,” he told politicians and current and retired PLA officers at the Great Hall of the People, China’s parliament building.
“However, we have the confidence to conquer all forms of invasion.
“We absolutely will not permit any person, any organisation, any political party — at any time, in any form — to separate any piece of Chinese territory from China,” Mr Xi said to applause.
“No-one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit of damage to our sovereignty, security and development interests.”
China faces a Uighur separatist insurgency in western Xinjiang province and the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan independence movement.
Last month, the PLA Daily newspaper announced the army would be reduced from its current 2.3 million strength to under a million by 2020.