As tensions with the U.S. escalate, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on his military to more quickly elevate “the armed forces to world-class standards” in a speech delivered to China’s parliament ahead of a vote for his third term as leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In his remarks, Xi called for a new era of military unity and a strong atmosphere of concern for national defense, while stressing the need to move toward innovation, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Xi’s comments come just days after a Chinese official warned of “conflict and confrontation” if the U.S. does not change its policies toward China.
In order to “cope with strategic risks, safeguard strategic interests and realize strategic objectives,” China must “better use defense science, technology and industry to strengthen its army and win wars,” The Hill quoted Xi as saying.
Over the past two decades, China’s scientific and military capabilities have grown exponentially, due in no small part to the CCP’s espionage efforts, which have exploited the theft of designs for U.S. military aircraft and assets to bypass the lengthy and expensive research and development phases most nations go through to advance.
China’s fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter was quickly assembled by stealing the blueprints for the U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter.
“What we know is that because of the espionage efforts, [China’s] J-20 is more advanced than it otherwise would be, and that’s the important point here,” former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Anderson told Fox News Digital.
“They have profited greatly from their thievery over the years,” he added. “They’ve put it to good use, and they’ve come up with an advanced fifth-generation fighter.”
Separate reporting from 2020 shows that China’s J-11 fighter jet is a copy of Russia’s Su-27 aircraft.
These incidents are part of a larger pattern by China of using espionage to steal industrial and military secrets from other nations, which has allowed it to accelerate its domestic weapons programs.
Xi’s speech also comes as China has announced a 7.2 percent increase in its defense budget for the coming year, marking a financial commitment to continue modernizing and growing its war-fighting assets.