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By Yew Lun Tian

China, with 'fighting spirit', says it put national interest first in last five years

Visitors stand in front of an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping, at an exhibition titled "Forging Ahead in the New Era" during an organised media tour ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing, China October 12, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo

China's Communist Party has "prioritised national interests" and displayed a "fighting spirit" in the past five years, it said on Wednesday, in the most explicit acknowledgement yet that it has put domestic factors first in dealings with other countries.

Observers say this affirmation of foreign policy during a key meeting, in a review of diplomacy under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, is a clear signal that China will continue to be assertive, with Xi expected to renew his rule this month.

The party's Central Committee made its pronouncement at its seventh plenum, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. The four-day plenum was its last meeting before a leadership reshuffle at the Congress which starts on Sunday.

The party has "prioritised national interests and put internal politics first, maintained strategic patience, displayed fighting spirit, fought to safeguard national dignity and core interests," Xinhua reported.

According to Xinhua, the party counts among its achievements its "proper management" of the risks and challenges brought about by the Ukraine crisis, the "continued struggle against separatism and foreign interference" and tight implementation of COVID curbs.

China has denounced what it sees as Western meddling in Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and stressed its territorial claims to self-ruled Taiwan.

The Central Committee, consisting of about 360 top party officials, voted by a show of hands to approve a report Xi will make at the Congress and a draft for the party constitution amendment. Changes will be unveiled at the Congress.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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