Xi touts China's sovereignty on war anniversary

Amid growing contention over the democratically ruled island of Taiwan, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday China will never allow its sovereignty, security and development interests to be undermined.

China considers Taiwan to be a wayward province -- and the island has become the latest flashpoint in Beijing's deteriorating relations with the United States.

Xi made those remarks in a speech marking 70 years since the start of the Korean War, when Chinese troops helped North Korea fight U.S.-led forces in the South.

And while Xi did not directly mention the U.S. in Friday's speech, he instead repeated his call to expedite the modernisation of China's defence and armed forces.

"We must push for faster moves in modernizing national defense and armed forces, and build the People's army into a world-class armed force. Without a strong army, there can be no strong motherland."

U.S.-China tensions have risen sharply in recent months over Taiwan, with Washington stepping up sales of military hardware to the island, and sending high-level officials to visit.

Just this week, Washington approved the sale of weapons systems to Taiwan worth up to $1.8 billion.

Meanwhile China has been applying increasing pressure on the island to accept Beijing's sovereignty, including flying fighter jets across an unofficial buffer along the Taiwan Strait.