China's Xi calls for 'reunification' as National People's Congress ends

China's President Xi Jinping has reiterated his determination to push for the reunification of Taiwan in a speech to the National People's Congress.

Xi gave the speech as the legislature wrapped up its session in Beijing on Monday. The congress unanimously endorsed his unprecedented third term as president last week.

Xi said he will advance the process of the reunification of the motherland, stressing that China will firmly oppose pro-independence and secessionist activities and the interference of external forces.

His remark is apparently aimed at keeping the United States in check.

Xi also pledged to build what he calls a "great modern socialist country" by the middle of the 21st century.

He stressed that security is the bedrock of development, and pledged efforts to further strengthen China's military.

He said China must advance the modernization of national defense and armed forces to turn them into a "great wall of steel" to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

The congress approved a report that set this year's target for economic growth at around 5 percent, as well as a budget that calls for a 7.2-percent increase in defense spending.

Xi had won reelection as the top leader of the Communist Party last year. He has now cemented his power after his allies were appointed to key posts by the legislature.