Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a tough line on national sovereignty Tuesday amid multiple territorial disputes with his country's neighbors, saying China will never permit the loss of 'any piece' of its land to outsiders.
In a stern warning to its border nations, President Xi added that China would never 'swallow the bitter fruit of damage'.
The President's declaration came during a nearly one-hour speech in Beijing marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army.
Defiant: Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a tough line on national sovereignty Tuesday during a speech in Beijing
The PLA, which has formed a key pillar of support for the ruling Communist Party since 1927 and is the world's largest standing military, with 2.3 million members.
During the speech, President Xi made it clear that the government is in complete control of its vast army, quoting Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China.
Reiterating the late Chairman's words, he said: 'Our principle is that the party commands the guns, and the guns must never be allowed to command the party.'
'The Chinese people treasure peace and we absolutely do not engage in invasion and expansion. However, we have the confidence to conquer all forms of invasion,' Xi told government leaders and current and retired PLA members gathered at the hulking Great Hall of the People, the seat of the legislature that sits beside Tiananmen Square.
'We absolutely will not permit any person, any organization, any political party - at any time, in any form - to separate any piece of Chinese territory from China,' Xi said to applause.
Taking the lead: President Xi said that China would never 'swallow the bitter fruit of damage our sovereignty, security and development interests'
Chinese paramilitary policemen march outside the Great Hall of the People after attending a ceremony to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army in Beijing
Ruling party: Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Premier Li Keqiang applaud during the anniversary ceremony on Tuesday
'No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit of damage to our sovereignty, security and development interests.'
Xi made no reference to any specific conflicts or disputes during his address, which focused largely on the PLA's growth from a scrappy guerrilla force fighting Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists and Japanese invaders into one of the world's most powerful, if largely untested, militaries.
However, China is currently engaged in a weeks-long border standoff with Indian forces near the countries' disputed border high in the Himalayas, with Chinese spokesmen demanding that Indian troops withdraw to avoid a clash potentially worse than the brief but bloody war the two fought in the region in 1962.