Xi added that China must "have the courage to fight as the country faces profound and complex changes in both the domestic and international landscape", according to a readout of the speech to delegates at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Beijing and Washington have butted heads in recent years over trade, human rights and other issues, but relations soured even further last month when the US shot down a Chinese balloon it said was being used for surveillance -- a claim strenuously denied by Beijing.

Top American officials have also repeatedly warned that China may invade Taiwan in the coming years, pointing to Beijing's increasingly assertive military moves around the self-ruled island, which it sees as its own territory and has vowed to bring under its control.

The balloon incident caused US secretary of state Antony Blinken to postpone a diplomatic trip to Beijing for a meeting that would have focused on a range of hot-button issues.