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China's Xi takes jabs at US in Korean War commemoration

Chinese leader Xi Jinping condemned “unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism” in a jab at the United States made during a rally Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War.

China refers to the conflict, in which it sent troops to aid North Korean forces against a United Nations coalition led by America, as the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.”

Although fighting ended in a stalemate, the war established China as a major player on the world stage and Friday’s commemorations closely fit with Xi’s drive to promote patriotism and the unquestioned leadership of the ruling Communist Party.

Party officials applaud as Chinese President Xi Jinping, standing, delivers his speech at the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the U.S. army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

“In today’s world, the pursuit of unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism leads nowhere,” Xi told an audience of government and party leaders, veterans and family members of those who served in what China calls the Chinese People's Volunteers.

“Arrogance, always doing as one pleases, acts of hegemony, overbearance or bullying will lead nowhere,” Xi said, according to comments released by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The anniversary comes as China's relations with the U.S. have sunk to their lowest level in decades as the sides feud over trade, human rights, allegations of spying and Chinese policies regarding Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Party officials applaud as Chinese President Xi Jinping, third from left in front row, followed by Premier Li Keqiang, arrives for the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the US army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Beijing, meanwhile, remains North Korea's most important diplomatic ally and trading partner, and has pushed back at U.S. efforts to bring economic pressure on Pyongyang to prompt it to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

U.S. relations with North Korea featured briefly in Thursday's presidential debate, with President Donald Trump saying the Obama administration left him a “mess” to deal with in terms of tempering relations with North Korea.

Trump said he had warded off a war that could have threatened millions of lives, and that former President Barack Obama had told him he viewed potential danger from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as among the greatest national security threats.

Party officials applaud as Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, arrives for the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the US army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Trump had “legitimized” a “thug” by meeting and forging a relationship with Kim.

Trump countered that Kim “didn’t like Obama” and insisted, “Having a good relationship with other countries is a good thing.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the U.S. army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Delegates wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus applaud as masked veteran soldiers arrive to attend the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Delegates wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus applaud as masked veteran soldiers arrive to attend the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center, and high ranking officials stand for the national anthem during the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center, and high ranking officials bow to pay condolences to the soldiers during the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Party officials bow to pay condolences to the soldiers during the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)